A Little Salty Kendall Lankford
April 3, 2018
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty? It’s no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. - Matthew 5:13
In the ancient world, salt was used as an agent of preservation. Without refrigerators, meat would go bad rather quickly unless it was packed with lots of pure salt which would prevent the meat from decay and corruption. And even though it is chemically impossible for pure salt to “lose its taste,”good salt would often be unintentionally contaminated with other impure compounds so that the salt would be rendered worthless as a preservative.
This ancient insight has various implications for ALL Christians today. Let us discuss five in particular below.
1) He is the Master
If we are the salt in this analogy, then we do not get to choose our role. Our identity was already defined for us by our Lord. If He said we are salt, then we are salt. This means we cannot abandon the world and our mission to engage it simply because we do not feel equipped. We must go wherever He decides to toss us, and we must be who and what He has called us to be.
2) We are agents of preservation
If we are the salt in this analogy, then we must permeate society as agents of redemption and preservation. We live in a dying and decaying world that will not be preserved unless we start engaging it. Imagine a package of raw meat that is left out on the counter overnight. In the same way, we live in a world that will experience the same rot and decay if we do not help them.
We are not allowed to hide away in our churches, hide away in our homes, or hide away in a weekly small group gathering, and then refuse to engage the world. If we do that, we accept the fact that this world will decay right in front of us when we have the remedy.
3) We must be free of contamination
If we are salt in this analogy, then we must remain pure. Like salt that becomes worthless when it is contaminated by outside agents, we must not compromise the Gospel message as we engage with men and women who are dying apart from Christ. We must be rooted in Biblical truth - living out our faith publicly and in a manner worth imitating - and focused on the mission that God has given us without compromising.
4) We must be humble
If we are salt, then we have a God-given task to be agents of preservation in a world that is dying of decay. We have a God-given responsibility to go out in the love of God to minister aid to others. We do that by holding fast to the truth of God’s Word, sharing that truth without compromise with anyone and everyone who is far from God, and doing it with as much love and grace as we can offer because that is what He has offered to us.
Sharing our faith and engaging culture doesn’t mean holding up a sign on a street corner that says “Repent or go to hell.”
Engaging culture is all about taking the truth we have in Christ and then sharing it openly, honestly, often, and also publicly, so that men and women who are far from God will find life in Jesus Christ.
5) We must not compromise.
Sharing Jesus is not popular and many people will misunderstand what you are doing. Some will downright hate you for it even when you make every effort to be loving. (Look at the book of Acts).
Many would prefer us to water down the Gospel message so that it doesn't hurt any feelings or offend, but that is not what Jesus did...
He said hard things to us and about us in love because He loves us too much to leave us as we are (e.g. Mt. 5:21-30). In fact,
loving well sometimes means saying things that others don’t want to hear.
Like a doctor sharing the awful diagnosis, being salt is about loving people enough to tell them the hard but necessary truth. All will perish apart from the saving work of Jesus Christ. That truth is not popular but we must share it so that they will accept the remedy of eternal and imperishable life that is offered to them by Christ and Christ alone. It may be easier to hide so that we do not feel awkward, but do not deceive yourselves.
The world is decaying and Jesus intends to send you to bring His life back into it.
We have the remedy to the malignancy of the soul and we must share it. To do anything else would be unloving.
Go be A LITTLE saltY.