|Matthew 5:13 (ESV): 13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.
There’s an important connection between the concept of being “the salt of the earth” and what we find in the latter portion of the beatitudes where Jesus described the true prophets who were persecuted for their message. These prophets acted as salt in the various historical periods in which they lived, they acted to preserve the purity of God’s covenant with Israel and push back at the corruption and apostasy that threatened the purposes of God in their generation. They also acted to provide the flavor of God’s prophetic revealing of Himself through their Divine utterances. This function of salt to preserve and provide flavor is now expanded to the wider collection of all those who would desire to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.
Make no mistake about it, Jesus is calling all of His disciples to refuse to acquiesce to the popular opinion that is often driven by carnal desires and ambitions. He is calling everyone who wants to be His genuine disciple to act in such a way that we declare what God’s word says in the face of a world that hates the gospel of Jesus Christ. This would be acting in the anti-corruption function of salt but we must not limit ourselves to only that function, lest we become unbalanced. The flavoring function can be viewed as our responsibility to declare truth in an attitude of gentleness and love, not harshness and disdain.
Luke 4:22 (ESV): 22 And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?”
Much of the false teaching of our times originates from the mindset that believes it’s wrong to say something that might offend someone. The truth of the matter is that Jesus did not avoid saying things that would be offensive to His generation, but He did avoid saying them in the wrong attitude. Jesus operated in an attitude of grace even when declaring things that ultimately led the religious leaders of His day to conspire to murder Him. Being the salt of the earth means that we always declare what is true in order to act as a preservative, but it also means to declare it in a way that reveals the love of God by the Spirit.
2 Timothy 4:2–3 (ESV): 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,
Here we find the Apostle Paul reiterating the principle of being the salt of the earth to Timothy. He commands him to act in a preservative capacity by reminding him to “reprove, rebuke and exhort” but he also commands him to act in a flavoring capacity by reminding him to use “complete patience and teaching.” In the face of a generation where people are gathering to themselves “teachers to suit their own passions” we must not become “no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.” (Matt. 5:13b) We must not avoid raising our voice with the truth of God’s Word. But we also must not avoid raising our voice with a revelation of God’s heart in which He is “not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) Every disciple of Christ is called to avoid complacency and speak the truth in love, no matter the reaction they might encounter from the world. Without being the salt of the earth the legacy that we will leave is one of flavorlessness, emptiness, and dishonor toward the One who gave His life for our sins. May it never be!
Prayer for today: Father I ask you to restore Your flavor into my life. Empower me with boldness to declare Your will and reveal Your heart to everyone that I come into contact with. Teach me to be a faithful disciple. Remove from me any hint of disobedience. I surrender to Your call to be the salt of the earth, in Jesus’ name, amen.
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