This short post examines the Biblical analogy of salt with the believer, with several takeaways.
1. The Power of Salt
One grain of salt changes the taste of food. The Lord makes a tremendous statement, saying, in effect, “You disciples are simple, inconspicuous, and insignificant, far more helpless than you realize, for only I know how you will fail me and how often you will disgrace my name. You, little minority of believers, you are the salt of the earth.” Jesus did not say, “You should be,” or “You must be,” but, “You are the salt.” In other words, He said, “the whole world through every age is salted by you. You will be its only salt to hinder it’s corruption.”
Do you realize the greatness of Christ in you? (For the answer, see 1st John 4:4.) Do you know that Christ within the tiny minority of true believers in the world today produces a power and directing of the world that is comparable to the power driving a great ship? Little did the twelve apostles and disciples realize at this time that throughout every age the influence of men indwelt by Christ would penetrate every corner of the known world, giving new savor to life and holding back the terrifying sweep of evil. History has recorded it.
2. The Function of Salt
Salt has two functions: (1) It gives savor to otherwise insipid food, and (2) it hinders corruption. The Lord did not tell His disciples that they were the honey of the world. Yet, some Christians are so sweet and inoffensive that they try to sweeten all bitterness and suffering, giving a one-sided image of a loving God, with a Pollyanna kind of optimism by which they seek to conceal the harshness of guilt and the consequences of sin. These persons act as though there were no devil or hell, and therefore, no temptation or punishment. However, Jesus used stern illustrations and spoke openly of sin, of hell, of Satan, and of guilt before God, as well as of all God’s tender love and gracious forgiveness.
If we are to be salt, we cannot coat everything with honey-covered words. We must ourselves know what God says in His Word. We must give the whole counsel of God whether it is fashionable to do this or not. We are committed to the whole truth of God, for this is the salt that hinders corruption.
Salt hurts sometimes, but it also heals. Our world is a place of decay and rottenness because salt is lacking. Decay has even penetrated the nominal Christian Church. Although many of the noblest things of the world are traced to their Christian heritage, we must recognize that the world system in which we live is slowly depleting it. Our Christian heritage has already lost much of its’ savor. For this reason, we need Christians who will move as salt to hinder the corruption, and to bring meaning to life and healing to those who are caught up in the disintegrating whirl of the secular world.
3. The Usefulness of Salt
As long as Christians are content to mix only with other believers, they are like salt in a saltshaker – useless to the world around them. Salt is useful only when it loses itself in food. It is so easy and comfortable to stay with Christians in the “Saints’ Club” of your church. It is so hard to be alone, or working with a few others, in the “dough” that has no “salt” in it but you. However, to stay in the saltshaker is ultimately to lose your savor. You say, “I stand absolutely alone in my family.” “I am the only Christian in my office.” “There is no Christian witness in my neighborhood.”
You can take comfort that you are the one grain of salt in these places. Christ in you is sufficient to “salt” your entire godless circle. This is a promise given to lonely persons. For instance, when impure or tasteless jokes are going around, you are the one person who salts the insipid corruption.
When you give back good for evil, when you forgive instead of taking revenge, you deliberately bring a savor of Christ into a place where such conduct is not known. When you speak up in a committee for the truth you know, in the Spirit (not of your own opinionated self), you bring the “salt” of Christ into this situation.
When you speak of God our refuge and of confidence in Him to your partner who is in a panic or when you alone choose to trust openly in God to bring the family through some trial, you hinder the course of corruption, of unbelief and unhappiness – you are salt. Christ is the salt.
To the extent you allow him to have free course in your mind, emotions, and will, you also are salt. You must not go the way of the world around you; you must be salt. On the other hand, you must get out into the world – into neighborhood and workplace situations – to fulfill your mission.