By Lee Jones
We live in an anti-salt world in so many ways. The current leading scientific studies constantly say that our salt intake is hurting us. High blood pressure is rampant in our world, as are heart conditions (like my own) and even renal conditions, all exacerbated by salt intake. But there was a time when salt was not only seen as good, it was precious.
I heard of a recent book called “Salt: A World History” that details the crucial role salt has played throughout human history, and we certainly see part of that in Matthew 5:13. But there’s more. Jesus in his wisdom used the reality of salt to teach his disciples an important lesson: if we are to preach the gospel to the nations, we must be renewed by the gospel ourselves.
If you haven’t trusted in Christ for your salvation, I pray you taste that salt and live.
Salt was immensely important in ancient times as a preservative more than a spice. Meat has the habit of rotting and becoming poisonous, and salt is able to preserve meat (and other foods) and extend its shelf life beyond natural expectations. That’s a good thing. Even a small amount of salt is able to preserve a considerable quantity of food.
Well that’s nice, but what’s it got to do with Christian living and evangelism? Well it’s first an encouragement to the small group of apostles, who spread the salt of the gospel across the world, saving dead souls by proclaiming Christ crucified and risen.
The gospel that Jesus Christ lived for our righteousness, died for our justification, and rose again for our eternal life is a rare and precious thing. Just as salt’s properties were exclusive to that mineral alone, Christ’s mediation is the only way for the spiritually dead sinner to be made alive.
If you haven’t trusted in Christ for your salvation, I pray you taste that salt and live. For those who have already been salted with the gospel, there’s more that directly applies to you.
When we are first acquainted with something as glorious as the gospel of Jesus Christ, we can’t help but be overwhelmed by it. But the longer we live with it, that glory can become dim or common to us. Our salt can begin to lose its saltiness, and that’s a dangerous thing. As Pliny wrote, “without salt, human life cannot be sustained.” I content that the same holds true spiritually also.
A great way to reinforce saltiness is to devote ourselves to prayer and thanksgiving, and to talk with unbelievers wisely. Paul begins Colossians 4 imploring his readers to devote themselves to prayer and “keeping alert in an attitude of thanksgiving; praying...that God will open to us a door for the word.” Then he immediately begins writing on dealing with outsiders.
I don’t believe it’s an accident that these two topics are discussed in close proximity. If we are praying earnestly and with thanks to God, we continually are treasuring the salt with which we’ve been salted, and that carries over into how we proclaim the gospel to others who haven’t heard. Without that, our salt loses its savor and then it’s not good for anything, only to be grit in the street. May our witness be effective by leaching gospel to ourselves and believing it before we preach it, calling out to the lost to repent and believe.
Glory to God Alone.