You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has lost its taste (purpose), how can it be made salty? It is no longer good for anything, but to be thrown out and walked on by people [when the walkways are wet and slippery].
When Jesus declares that those who believe and trust in Him are the salt of the earth, it is no little or insignificant claim. Salt was used in many ways, but for the Jewish people the strongest references they would of understood when Jesus said this were connected to offerings of sacrifice made to God. In the Old Testament, God made a covenant of salt with His people. He required that all offerings that were given to Him would always have salt included. The salt was a symbol of covenant—meaning the covenant that He was making with His people was unchangeable. God was never going to back down from His promise; God was going to preserve His agreement with His people. As salt preserves, so God calls on His people to preserve or trust in the agreement or covenant with God.
How does this relate to us now in the new covenant? When Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth,” He was calling on us to remind and preserve for people the truth that we are now under a covenant of grace. Wherever we go, wherever we work, wherever we have influence—we are called to be salt, to preserve the truth that we are now saved by grace into relationship with God. We no longer need to add salt to animal sacrifices, but rather we ourselves are the salt added to people’s lives reminding them that God has made a way for relationship with them—not by their sacrifices but by the sacrifice of one, Jesus Christ. There is nothing that can break this covenant with Jesus. It is sealed by His human and divine blood shed for each of us on the cross.
If He has done it all at calvary on the cross, then what is our role? We are salt. We are now the constant reminders, preservers and purifiers. By being salt, we are living examples and reminders that this grace covenant is real and active. We are different. When the world pulls down the gospel, we preserve it. When the world hates, we are the preservers of love. When the world brings injustice, we are the preservers of justice through Jesus Christ. When people feel guilty and condemned, we are salt—we are reminders that there is no longer any condemnation in Christ Jesus.
We are the preservers of grace. Wherever we go and whoever we are with, we add salt. We stop the decay of sin which eats away at the image of God's glory in humans. We preserve the beauty, majesty and the wonder of all the good that God has created. We are in the world but not of the world, for we are grace preservers, salty, not forgetting that our purpose is to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves.
You are the salt of the earth. Today, engage with the world— interact with the world—but be the salt, a reminder of the grace that is available to everyone. The grace that has the power to restore and renew all things.
Jesus didn't say that one day you will be salt. He says that today you are salt.
// Pastor Josh Kelsey