Jesus said that we are “the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13). The value of salt, especially in the ancient world, cannot be underestimated. Roman soldiers received their wages in salt. The Greeks considered salt to be divine. The Mosaic Law required that all offerings presented by the Israelites contain salt (see Leviticus 2:13).
When Jesus told His disciples that they were “the salt of the earth,” they understood the metaphor. While the universal importance of salt is not as readily apparent in our modern world, the mandate that Jesus gave to His first disciples is still relevant and applicable to His followers today.
What are the characteristics of salt that caused the Lord to use it in this context?
Theologians have different theories about what “salt” represents in Jesus’ sermon. Some think that its white color represents the purity of the justified believer. Others say that salt’s flavoring properties imply that Christians are to add divine flavor to the world. Still others believe that Christians are to sting the world with rebuke and judgment the way salt stings an open wound. Another group asserts that, as salt, Christians are to create a thirst for Christ.
Salt, however, has another vital purpose, one which is probably what the Lord had in mind: Salt stops decay. When Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth,” He meant that all His disciples were to serve as preservatives, stopping the moral decay of our sin-infected world.
Prayer: Father, help me to remember that I should be a preservative in this world. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone” (Colossians 4:6).
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