What Is A Salty Christian?"
Pastor Paul Frey
Matthew 5:13 says,"Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men."
The word "salty" is most often used in relation to foods that have been seasoned with salt. It is sure to be heard around the dinner table, if mother was too liberal with salt in her cooking. But the term "salty" is also used to describe the worth of a man. For example, one of the highest honors a man in the United States Marine Corps can receive, is to be called a "salty" Marine. The term applied in this sense means the Marine is always squared away- His weapon is always clean and knows how to fight the enemy. He takes pride in being a Marine-which shows in his dress, his physical condition, his preparedness; he has the "es spirit de Corps". But the word "salty" can also be applied to a Christian for our text tells us that Jesus calls His own "the salt of the earth". In the general sense, the first ten verses of Matthew 5 illustrate what this term means.
Unlike the pride of a "salty" Marine, the salty Christian has a spirit of humility. He is aware of his spiritual poverty and his eyes have been opened to the poisoned depravity of sin and has a hatred for it and grieves over his own sin and the sins of others. He has a spirit of meekness before man and God, His heart is open to what God will teach him through His Word, and is always in submission to the authority of God's Word. He has an intense desire to be right with God and man because he hungers and thirsts after righteousness. Having obtained mercy, he is always willing to show mercy, with a heart undivided and loyal to the Savior, not a turncoat like Demas, but one who is truly occupied with the King and His Kingdom, a peacemaker, bringing others into a peaceful relationship with God.
Now any Christian who fits this description, can expect persecution, for just like in military warfare, the opposition that inflicts the most casualties, receives the most attention. For example, a machine gun emplacement will receive more enemy fire than a rifleman - In the Gulf War, the Allies gave more attention to Saddam Hussein's Republican Guard than any other enemy unit.
This is also true in the spiritual realm. A well known evangelist once said; "There are three kinds of Christians, traitors, P.O.W.'s, and Marines." Obviously the church does not have an abundance of Marines today. By modest estimate, more that 25% of the entire population of the United States, have professed a "born again" experience. William Iverson wryly observes that one Ib. of meat would surely be affected by a 1/4 Ib. of salt. If the 25% professing Christians is real Christianity, where is the effect of which Jesus spake? For certainly the world around us is in spiritual moral decay. I believe Jesus used that figure of speech in designating His own because of its meaning re: the natural life.
It preserves, it purifies, it -provides flavor, it produces thirst. Apply this spiritually and one can understand Iverson's comment. In other words the church is not making much of an impact upon society. Let us take Jesus' use of this figure os speech, "ye are the salt of the earth" and make the spiritual application to ourselves. Personal fidelity to the Lord - In Numbers 18:19 we read, "And every oblation of thy meal offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou allow the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meal offering; with all thy meal offering, you shall offer salt." And in Levit. 2:13 we read, "All the heave offerings of the holy things, which the children of Israel offer unto the Lord, have I given thee and thy sons and thy daughters with thee, by a statute forever: it is a covenant of salt forever before the Lord unto thee and thy seed with thee." Among Oriental people and Arabs today, salt is often used to ratify agreements so that salt became a symbol of fidelity and friendship. So the covenant of salt as offered in the meal offering, speaks of the holiness and purity of Christ and God's eternal pledge of fidelity to His people through Christ's atoning death on the Cross which was still future.
So that in Hebrews 13:20 we read, "Now the God of Peace, that brought down again from the dead, that Great Shepherd of the sheep - through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do His will - working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight." In the time of Abijah, king of Judah, Jeroboam, the king of the ten northern tribes (Israel) came against Abijah with 800,00 men, twice the number Abijah had. And standing atop one of the mountains in Ephraim, Abijah cried out; "Hear me, thou Jeroboam, and all Israel, Ought ye not to know that the Lord God of Israel, gave the kingdom over Israel to David forever, even to him and to his sons by a covenant of salt?" (II Chr. 13:1-5). The covenant of salt became the covenant of blood - typifying redemption and fidelity to His people. In Romans 8:39, the apostle Paul could say, "Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus" and again in Heb. 13:5; "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." "..all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us." -II Cor. 1:20.
What this means to us is, that while all around us, people are corrupting themselves with the goddess of pleasure, sex, and entertainment, our loyalty is to Christ and not to the gods of this world. In the last verse of the Apostle John's first epistle, he wrote; "Little children, keep yourselves from idols."
Preserver. When Jesus said that "ye are the salt of the earth", He inferred that all else is in a state of corruption. As someone has said; "The grace of God preserves the saints- the saints are to preserve the earth." Throughout Scripture, God over and over again refers to the flood, Sodom and Gomorrah. Why does He do that? I believe that it is to show the corrupting influence of evil. In Noah's day, all was corrupted but his own family. Ten righteous men could have stayed judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah, but so great had evil spread that fire and brimstone came down. As the salt of the earth, the true believer's function is to preserve. In the natural, a piece of meat has germs on its surface and unless treated with salt, it will putrefy.
A custom of ancient Israel was to rub salt on newborn babies -Ezek. 16:4. Evil is in each one of us... babies come into the world with the propensity to do evil - see psalms 51:4 and Psalms 58:2. Left to themselves, the evil within can only spread. That is why the study of the Word of God is so important, and applying it to one's life. "How shall a young man cleans his way? By taking heed thereto according to Thy Word." Psalms 119:9. The 20th Century was to be one of enlightenment -new technology -free from war and superstition - the Utopia. But from the turn of the century, the inhabitants of earth are on a course set for destruction. In light of this, how appropriate is William Iverson's illustration. The research firm of Daniel Lankelevich, said that a survey taken of youth and young adults in 1969, found that 71% interviewed, said living a clean moral life was a very important value. Just five years later in 1974, the same survey was 'taken among youths and young adults with the same questions asked. The percentage dropped from 71% to 51%. A 20% decline in just five years. Who "thought living a clean, moral life was an important value. What would the survey show today, 22 years later? The church today is no longer the salt of the earth. It has become the sugar. Of what good is a disinfectant infiltrated with germs, or a cold medicine infected with cold germs. How can a Christian stay the corrupting influence of the world, if the world has infected him?
Purified. We know salt is a symbol of purity, for it was used in the meal offering
-representing Christ. It is interesting to note that the first miracle by Elisha, had to do with purity. The city of Jerico was a pleasant city but its waters were brackish (bad). Elisha, responding to the request of the men of the city, asked for a new cruse with salt in it, and cast it into the spring that was affected and infected by a substance of a brackish nature. Then Elisha declared: "Thus saith the Lord, I have healed these waters - there shall be no more barren land." (II Kings 2:21) This is a picture of the new creation in Christ, who has been touched by the power of the Gospel, cleansed by the precious blood of Christ. Everyone ought to memorize Colossians 4:6.
Produces thirst. As salt flavors a piece of meat or vegetable to make it more palatable - so the Christian life lived out before the world should produce a thirst, a desire to have what a salty Christian has- At a meeting, some young people were discussing our text for today (Mt. 5:13). One suggestion after another was made as to the meaning of salt in this verse-Salt imparts a desirable flavors said one - another suggested that salt preserves from decay. Then a Chinese Christian girl spoke up out of an experience none of the others had. Salt "creates thirst" she said. At that there was a sudden hush in the room. Everyone was thinking... Have I ever made anyone thirsty for Jesus Christ?
The world in its desire to get meaning out of life has followed Solomon's pursuit of life as recorded in Eccl.- What did He say? All is vanity- take every desire of the flesh and after awhile it becomes tasteless- insipid (dull,empty, pointless). Not having anything else to turn to, the world engages in more sex, more pleasure, more lotteries-and when the time comes to meet the messenger of Death- only emptiness and fear. Such is a life without Jesus Christ-absolutely tasteless. As people observed the life of Jesus, it says that He grew in favor with God and men. Desire was created within. When Saul observed Stephen, such a desire came into his heart that he tried to drown it out with a greater persecution. Saul (who became Paul) along with Silas exemplified such fullness of Christ that the poor Roman jailer cried out "What must I do to be saved?" or, "How can I have what you have?" Anyone ever ask you that? ever someone say- What makes you different? Jesus was, in effect, saying "You are unlike the world- your goal is different- your function is different- your desire is different.
What salt is in the realm of nature you are to be in the spiritual life- salt. A salty Christian is one who has personal fidelity to Christ -no other master -one who does not go with the flow but resists... stopping the spread of corruption in his sphere of life. -One who by word and deed is a purifying influence through the Gospel lived out and spoken out -One whose life is so attractive that others desire to have the Christ that you have. But then the Lord says, "But if the salt have lost its savour it is good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men." What did our Lord have in mind by this statement? To the South Western corner of the Dead Sea there is a hill of salt called Jebel Usdum. It's the area commonly associated with Lot's wife -Sodom and Gomorrah. This salt of the rock or fossil variety (because of impurities and chemical changes, the outer area is generally lacking in flavor- This no doubt was referred to by our Lord-Good for nothing.
Are you infected by the world -has its infection made you like Demas? or are you a salty Christian? We are to be salt not sugar. What good is a soldier who will not fight, a doctor who will not cure the sick, or a Christian who 'will not stop corruption? How corrupt our lives can grow if we keep not the salt of Christian principle.... we will become good for nothing. Salt is also used as a picture of judgment -as seen in Deut. 29:23 "And that the whole land thereof is brimstone, and salt, and burning, that it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth therein, like the overthrow of Sodom, and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, with the Lord overthrew in his anger, and in his wrath." In Mark 9:49 everyone shall be salted with fire who will not respond to God's provision and gracious invitation to come to Jesus Christ. Salt is a picture of the gospel -Great blessings... or great judgment - Are you a salty Christian? If so, why not?
-Pastor Paul Frey