March 04, 2011 by
13 “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. (NIV)
For years I have heard that salt is a preservative and that we are the preservative, I assume, of righteousness. To interpret this meaning into what Jesus said, however, fails as a metaphor. As a preservative, salt prevents spoiling of meat. To say that the Church prevents spoiling of society, by extension, lacks any fundamental change in society. Is the gospel so weak that all it can do is retard decay? Of course not! The gospel transforms a person into a new creature. Therefore, to assume that Jesus is using salt as a metaphor for preserving society is error.
It has also been said that salt adds flavor, therefore, by implication, the Church adds flavor to society. Once again, this falls short of the Lord’s intention. Adding flavor does not change, only modifies, the other ingredients of society. The other ingredients of a meal remain the other ingredients and are not changed.
Salvation has only one way of reception: voluntarily. A person receives the new birth because that person asked for it. There is only one interpretation of salt that fits the gospel message: thirst. Eating salt creates thirst. Thirst motivates a person to drink water. No one can be forced to drink water. They have to want to drink. No one can be forced to accept salvation. They have to want to be saved.
Everyone knows that taverns and bars provide salted peanuts free of charge for a simple reason. They know that the salted peanuts will create thirst in their patrons, who will then spend money voluntarily for more beer. Of course, the more they eat the salted peanuts the more beer they will buy in an never ending cycle.
This is the saltiness that Christians in America are losing. The living water of Christ should flow freely from our bellies. Our lives should be such that people around us want to have what we have. A thirst for Christ should be stimulated in those around us because of the saltiness of Christ in us.
The problem is works. If we try to be like Christ through human effort, we lose our saltiness, because we can not be like Christ. The only way the saltiness of Christ is experienced by the lost is when we die to self and let Christ live through us instead. We don’t try, we let Christ have His way in us by accepting His will.
2 Cor 2:15-16
15 For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.
16 To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task? (NIV)
When we die to self we are a fragrance of life to the lost. We can not be a fragrance of life through our own efforts. Only when we die to self. There is our saltiness. To continue in works trying to be like Christ is to lose saltiness, thus to be rejected by the world and to be trampled underneath. Organized religion has encouraged saints to live by the arm of the flesh, thus they are losing their saltiness.
The good news is that we can stop trying right where we are. We can let Christ have His way in whatever circumstance we are in. If God can transform the prostitutes and drug addicts, don’t you think He is still capable of transforming a saltless believer? Of course He can. He can restore our saltiness immediately. All we have to do is let go and let God. Be the salt of the Earth. Jesus Christ alone is the salt. Let Him live through you instead of imitating Him.