Jesus started His sermon on the mount with the beatitudes Matt.5:1-12. Beatitudes does not mean attitudes, but describes the blessedness of those who do them. After the beatitudes Jesus uses two metaphors to describe His followers Matt.5:13-16, salt and light. Christians need to realize they do not live in a monastery, but out with the people in the world.
What does Jesus mean by salt and light? Matt.5:13 is not the only time He talks about salt. Mk.9:49-50; Lk.14:34-35. Saying that His followers are salt is both a compliment and a challenge, why? Salt preserves the purity of something Lev.2:13. It is also an antiseptic Ezek.16:4. It is used to flavor (season) things Job 6:6. Salt is essential to life. We all need sodium in our bodies.
The word salt has become part of our language. “He is worth his salt.” At one time salt was as valuable as gold. People were often paid in salt. “Salt of the earth.” One is reliable and trustworthy. He uses “salty language.” (Language that is irreverent, not good and/or vulgar). “Salt away something for retirement. The idea of saving. ” Take it with “a grain of salt.” Check it out to see if it is true, unmixed with error.
You are salt. Jesus is talking about the multitude, the common people Matt.5:1, not the nobles and the elite. The common people are the ones who have lasting, real value. Jesus is recognizing the common people as being of great value.
Salt seasons. It gives flavor and good seasoning to society. As salt we are to be different, to give a better taste. Salt is not in something, it is an addition. Christians, as salt, add beauty and zest to life by giving a better flavor to it. It makes life taste better.
Salt preserves Num. 18:19. God’s covenant is called a covenant of salt. God’s word is preserved as true. Just as salt hinders something from spoiling, the truth, as salt, hinders moral decay. Jer.5:1, God would spare Jerusalem if Jeremiah could find one righteous soul. God told Abraham He would spare the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah if he could find 10 righteous souls. Enough Christians acting as salt can preserve a nation.
Salt can become worthless, contaminated. So can Christians when they lose their distinctiveness in the world. We are to be distinct and different from the world. Salt preserves because it is not the same element as the thing to which applied. That is what Christians can do by being different from the world 2.Cor.5:17; 6:17-18; Rom.12:1-2.
Salt irritates when you rub it in a wound. Christians irritate the world 1.Pet.4:4; Gal.4:16. The truth hurts at times Jn.15:18. Salt causes thirst. Matt.5:6. Teach the truth and create a thirst for the word of God. When around some people, they inspire you. Others are impediments.
Christians are the salt of the earth, not the church building. You have to take it to where the people are. Jesus ate with the sinners to teach them Matt.11:19; Lk.19:10. Salt only works when it makes contact with something. Are we good salt?
J R Bronger