Matthew 5:13, “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.”
First of all, Jesus is using emphatic language here. My next blog entry after this will be about the light of the world. Both times in verses 13 and 14 Jesus says in the Greek, ὑμεῖς ἐστε (humase esteh), which literally translated is saying, “You, you are,” which is redundant. If you’ve been keeping up with my writings, you may know by now that when redundancy occurs in the Greek, it is done for emphasis. So Jesus wasn’t making a light statement. He was saying, “You are the salt of the earth,” and later on, “You are the light of the world.” There’s no question about it. As Christians, we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. You either are or you aren’t.
Yet what does it mean to be the salt of the earth? I like to think of it as the three primary functions of salt:
- Salt enhances.
- Salt stings and heals wounds.
- Salt preserves from spoiling.
As salt enhances the taste of food, so we are to enhance the faith of others, especially when it is lacking. We salt our food because it lacked that sweetness. Likewise, we enhance the faithless with the sweetness of the Gospel because their faith is absent. This is done by stinging them with the Law and healing them with the Gospel. The Law wounds us because it reveals to us our sin and our hopelessness in it—it stings us, it offends us. But then comes the healing of the Gospel—the Good News of Jesus Christ. “Gospel” and “Good News” are the same word in Greek, εὐαγγέλιον (euangelion). The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), and Jesus took our place on the cross by dying for our sins, once for all (Romans 6:10). Stinging people with the Law and leading them with the Gospel is the core of evangelism. Not the type that goes out and preaches to strangers, but using our current relationships with people as an opportunity to share with them the Gospel, but the Law must come first because it reveals to us the necessity for a Saviour, which is in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Lastly, as Christians, we preserve each other’s faith from spoiling. We comfort one another, encourage one another, and fellowship with one another. If someone’s faith, or our own faith, loses its taste—its ripeness of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)—how can it be restored? Losing faith is a dangerous place to be, for it becomes inactive and useless, susceptible to being trampled by the deceptive ways of the world. Therefore, we all the more have fellowship with one another to preserve our faith so it does not become spoiled. For a further understanding of fellowship, check out my article with Geeks Under Grace, The Importance of Fellowship.
Stay tuned for next time when I discuss what it means to be the light of the world.