Our Bible reading is from Matthew chapter 5 beginning with verse 13. Jesus says, this is part of his sermon on the Mount, speaking to Christians:
You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
We primarily think of salt as something we put on our food and it’s important for that. But in ancient times in Jesus day salt was used as a commodity. People would sometimes use salt in their trade agreements with one another. And salt was often the way you would pay someone. In fact the very word salary is based on the word for salt. Salt was a method of often exchanging for a slave that you might buy. That’s why we often heard the expression that someone was not worth his weight in salt.
So Jesus uses a picture of this very important element which is sodium chloride and uses that now as a picture for how the Christian is in this world. That means those who believe in him, those who have faith in him as their savior who put their trust entirely in what he’s done for them to go to heaven. Jesus says that someone who believes in him like that is like this precious element of salt in the world. And those who love Jesus and confess him as their savior are like this wonderful gift of salt.
One of the reasons that God has given you faith in Christ as a Christian is not simply to take you to Heaven, of course that’s the most important, but it’s also so that he can use you in this world and in your life. The moment that you became a believer in Jesus God didn’t take you right away to heaven. He chose instead to leave you here in this world so that you could have an influence on people in your family friends neighbors in the workplace.
So without the influence and confession of Christians in the world this world from God’s perspective would be nothing but a putrid rotting place. And so it’s the presence of Christians that gives this wonderful flavor to God for the world.
Back in the third century when Christians would baptize. They would often make the sign of the cross in salt on the top of the water. Sometimes they would likewise take a pinch of salt and put it in the baby’s mouth when the baby was baptized to show that you are now the salt of the world.
The salt that we think of today has a preserving quality to it as well. Salt is a wonderful preservative and believers in Christ remaining in this world are really what helps to preserve the world from God’s perspective. God will allow his church of believers to exist all the way to the end of time and when the final Christian is brought to faith the final one that God wants to be brought into his kingdom of grace when that final person is converted and brought to faith in Christ then the end of the world will come. So every time we put salt on our food as Christians we can remind ourselves of what Jesus says about us and how we are the salt in the world.
And it’s important for us not to lose this precious faith not only for our own sakes but also for the benefit that we provide to our fellow human beings. Amen.