What does it mean to be a Salt of the Earth?

About 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ likened Christians to a salt, but why? What does it really mean to be a salt of the earth? What is in the salt that teaches us valuable lessons about our Christian walk? In this post, let us take a deeper look at Matthew 5:13 and discover why we are to be a salt of the earth and how to accomplish this in our lives.

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Imagine life without salt? The truth is, you can’t even do that because no human being would be alive today without this important chemical compound.

Sodium Chloride or better known as salt once regarded as more precious than gold. Living in this time and age, it would be difficult for us to imagine how important salt is to the ancient world.

In the olden times, salt was a valued commodity that it is once used as a currency. Our modern English word, “salary” came from the word salt. Not only that but today, salt is so important that it seems we can’t imagine cooking our food without this tasty seasoning.

However, did you know that around 2,000 years ago, our Messiah and Savior likened His followers to the salt?

We read in Matthew 5:13:

You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.”

How many times have you read this verse without actually stopping and thinking about its deep and profound meaning? You might be surprised, but this single verse is packed with thought-provoking lessons for all of us to learn.

In this post, let us answer the question, “What does it mean to be a salt of the earth?”

Do you want to know the answer? Read on!

What does it mean to be a Salt of the Earth

Do you know what it means to be a salt of the earth?

The different characteristics of salt

It is interesting how Christ used the salt to represent Christians. It gets more interesting when you look at the physical and chemical properties of salt and how it relates to our lives. Indeed, salt is among the best analogies Christ have used to teach us valuable lessons today.

Here are some of the characteristics of salt and how it teaches us to be Christians.

Salt makes food flavorful

The most common use of salt is to make our food tasty.

Have you ever sip a soup with no salt? I know, it’s terrible, bland, and boring. Everyone has their preference, but a lot of people would agree, that food is better with a sprinkle of salt.

In the same manner, as the salt of the earth, Christians should be the ones who give a flavor to this distasteful world.

In a world filled with bitterness, it is kind of refreshing that we have Christians who strive to make a change by doing God’s work.

Our way of life should be pleasant to the “taste buds” of those people whom we came in contact with. When they see or think about us, they couldn’t say any evil toward us, but instead, praise our Heavenly Father.

Salt is valuable

In the ancient times, salt is used as a currency. Its production at that time was legally restricted. Only a few people can have them. Since salt isn’t that common, it is used as salary to laborers and currency for trading.

In the past, if you have salt in your home, you are considered to be wealthy. Eating delicious food was among the luxuries rich people enjoy.

In the same manner, Christians are valuable to God. In Psalms 116:15, we read:

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.

All throughout the Bible, we see how much God values us. We are so important to our Heavenly Father that He sacrificed His only begotten Son for our redemption (John 3:16).

Today, most people don’t value salt anymore since it has become a common household item. In the same manner that Christians today are deemed often to be worthless by the society. Thankfully, our worth isn’t based on how people see us but based on how God loves us.

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Salt heals

There’s no secret that going to the beach and taking a dip to the water speed up healing of wounds. Salt has been seen to heal a lot of skin problems. A lot of bacteria are sensitive to salt and therefore, could easily be killed by it.

An interesting story can be read about how Elisha used salt to heal the water of one of the cities during his day. We read in II Kings 2:19-22:

Then the men of the city said to Elisha, “Please notice, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord sees; but the water is bad, and the ground barren.”

And he said, “Bring me a new bowl, and put salt in it.” So they brought it to him. Then he went out to the source of the water, and cast in the salt there, and said, “Thus says the Lord: ‘I have healed this water; from it there shall be no more death or barrenness.’ ” So the water remains healed to this day, according to the word of Elisha which he spoke.

This is a classic example of how salt is used in healing, not just the body, but also other inanimate objects such as water.

So how does this relate to our Christian life?

Yahshua or Jesus Christ told us that we are the salt of the earth. This means that we are to serve as a healing agent to this hurting, sick, and dying world. As a matter of fact, we are called to be peacemakers and help heal broken relationships.

Through our actions and words, we are to help others to recover from spiritual wounds.

Salt preserves

Another property of salt that it serves as a preserving agent. Throughout the history, we have seen how salt is used to keep food from spoiling.

The Bible reveals that we, as Christians, like salt, must help in keeping this world from corruption and spiritual decay. While of course it has already been prophesied that man will become more and more corrupt as we approach the last days, we are still admonished to do our part in preserving moral standards and keeping God’s ways relevant in today’s society.

Most importantly, we are to keep ourselves from spiritual rottenness. It is true that we can’t change the world as it is now heading to destruction, but we can surely control ourselves. We must preserve ourselves and persevere as we become a salt to the earth.

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Salt makes you thirsty

You might have eaten a bag full of chips. With the saltiness of that food, I’m sure you would look for water. Salt can dehydrate us. That’s why it is not recommended for us to drink salt water. Instead of rehydrating us, it will deplete the fluids in our body and make us thirsty.

As a salt, we must make people thirst for the spiritual water.  Jesus Christ exclaimed during the last day of the great day of the Feast:

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37-38).

We must thirst after Christ as the deer pants for the water (Psalm 42:1). And it is not just us who should be thirsty, but we must also cause a thirst in other people through our examples and influence.

Salt helps in biological function

Salt is vital for life. In fact, life won’t exist without salt. Our body can’t produce salt by itself and we must obtain it from an external source.

Salt plays a major role in our body’s overall fluid balance and muscle contraction. Salt also indirectly helps in the transportation of oxygen and nutrients throughout the body.

As Christians, our role in the world is crucial. Without us, no one will perform the greatest work on the face of the planet – the preaching of the Gospel (Be sure to read 10 Most Effective Ways to Preach the Gospel Today). Christians are called to deliver the life-giving message of our Savior.

Salt can kill                            

As a little kid, I tried to kill slugs and snails with salt. Indeed, salt can kill these little creatures. I know it’s a harsh experiment, but it’s an example of how salt can kill. Now, I’m not advocating that you go out there and use salt to kill slugs. I just want to use that an example.

Though salt can give life, it can also take life. If you consume too much salt, it can lead to dehydration and eventually death.

As Christians, we must kill our carnal self. Romans 8:13 tells us:

“For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”

The Apostle Paul is simply telling us here that if we are to live by the Spirit, we must deny the urge to sin and perform the deeds of the flesh.

When we starve our human nature, we nurture the spirit in us.

During our baptism, we should have already buried our old self and put the new man. Paul explains this point very well in Ephesians 4:22-24:

That you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

As the salt of the earth, we must kill our human nature and destroy all kinds of evil in our lives.

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We are considered to be a salted sacrifice

In the Old Testament, as part of the sacrificial system of the Israelites, priests must season their offering with salt. We read:

And every offering of your grain offering you shall season with salt; you shall not allow the salt of the covenant of your God to be lacking from your grain offering. With all your offerings you shall offer salt (Leviticus 2:13).

In the New Testament, God, through the Apostle Paul, admonishes us to be a living a sacrifice. We read:

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”

Christ became the sacrifice once and for all by giving up His life for us (Hebrews 9:28). We are not to offer grain, lamb, bull, or any other animals. However, we are commanded to offer our bodies to be a living sacrifice and part of that is to season ourselves with salt.

We must exhibit the different properties and characteristics of salt mentioned above. As a living sacrifice, we must give flavor to this world. We must be a healing and preserving agent. We must help other people seek out God and destroy spiritual rottenness in our lives.

This is what it means to be a salted sacrifice.

Our speech is seasoned with salt

Words are powerful. It can either break or build people up. Paul recognizes the power in our words and thus, he implores us in Colossians 4:6:

“Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.”

Paul is telling us here that our speech should be seasoned with salt – meaning, our speech should be palatable and wholesome. When people hear the words that come out of our mouth, it should bring grace to the hearer and edification to the spirit.

Knowing exactly what to say in every situation can be tough and tricky. In fact, communication skills, which is a vital component of human interaction, is difficult to master. But as long as we do our best, ask God for wisdom, and have the right motivation behind every word we utter, I’m sure that we will be more effective in seasoning our speech with salt.

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Being salted can be painful

Have you tried pouring salt on your open wound? It hurts, doesn’t it?

In the same manner, we must also be salted and experience pain to ensure that we grow in the knowledge and faith.

We read in Mark 9:49:

“For everyone will be seasoned with fire, and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt.”

We will be seasoned with fire. Salt is produced by exposing ‘solution-mined’ brine under the sun. The heating from the sun evaporates the solution and leaves the salt behind.

No one says that the life of a Christian would be easy. In fact, Christ, Himself, mentioned that we must go through a lot of hardships before we can make it to the Kingdom (Mark 8:34).

When salt is mined or gathered together, they come with impurities and other elements that aren’t needful. In the same manner, we need to be purified to get rid of impurities.

Yes, the process can be painful, but it will be worth it. Once we become a pure salt, we can become a better salt to the earth.

Salt must penetrate to do its job

To preserve meat, pouring salt is not enough. In most cases, salt is rubbed repeatedly to the meat to make sure it gets deeper.

As Christians, we are called to be salt. Christ prayed that we are to remain in the world to serve as salts and light. We are not to hide in the mountains and live a secluded life.

When you cook food, you don’t simply sprinkle salt in one place. As much as possible, you want salt to be evenly distributed. We can only make an impact in other people’s lives by establishing a deeper and personal connection with them.

Don’t lose your flavor

Jesus Christ gave a solemn warning to Christians to never lose their saltiness. We read in the latter part of Matthew 5:13:

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.”

If you lose your flavor as a salt – meaning, you lost the characteristics of salt mentioned above – then, you will have lost the ability to serve your main purpose.

In the olden times, when salt is deemed to be useless, it is scattered in the field to kill vegetation. It is also a common substance that is used to harden pathways and roads.

When Christ said that if the salt has lost its flavor and should be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men, His audience knew very well what He exactly mean by that statement.

As Christians, we must take this warning seriously. For Christ, “Salt is good” (Mark 9:50). However, if you lose your flavor, you have lost your healing and preserving property, you won’t do any good.

Christ even indicates that you can’t restore your saltiness by yourself. It is by coming back to Christ and restoring your relationship with Him that you will again produce the salt in your life.

Go and be a salt to the world

Now that you have a deeper understanding of what Matthew 5:13 means, then you should now be more effective in becoming a salt to the earth. While the task is difficult and we will be confronted with a lot of hardships along the way, we know that it will all be worth it.

Let’s go out there and become the salt of the earth!

(How about you? How do you explain Matthew 5:13? Do you have anything to add to this blog? If yes, feel free to drop a comment below!)


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2 thoughts on “What does it mean to be a Salt of the Earth?

  1. tjyooo i have learned a lot from this topic and from this site as well. i started reading this site from yesterday when i open the internet asking what did Jesus mean when he said “no one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of GOD” this is the first site that google directed me…..i have lot to say but dont know where to start. i wish to start communicating with you guys. please include me in all of your communication. if there is a way where i can donate please guide me to do that.
    i am very thankfull

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    • Hi Bhekizizwe,

      Thanks for dropping by. I’m glad that you are able to learn from my blogs. It is always refreshing to read people’s comments and words of encouragement. It inspires me to continue doing God’s work and to write more blogs about His words.

      Regarding the donation, you may want to click the “Donate” button found on the sidebar of this page or click on the “Support this website” tab found on top of this page.

      Please feel free to read other blogs and let me know if you have other questions that I might help answer.

      Regards,
      Joshua

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