Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 15, 1970
NUMBER 23, PAGE 10b-11a

Salty Christians

Larry R. De Vore

In Matt. 5:13, Jesus says to His disciples, "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again? It is good for nothing anymore, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men." N.A.S.B. The word salt is from the Greek word Halizo (1st time) and from the Greek word Halas (2nd time). Salt is "possessed of purifying, perpetuating and antiseptic qualities." Salt is "emblematic of fidelity and friendship among eastern nations." (Vine's, pg. 315). So Jesus admonishes His disciples "Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another." Mark 9:50b.

Vine also comments "In the Lord's teaching it is also symbolic of that spiritual health and vigor essential to Christian virtue and counteractive of the corruption that is in the world." (op. cit.)

It indeed seems reasonable that the Lord desires that His people be "salty;" that is, possessing these desirable properties to make them a force for righteousness in this present world.

Salt has some remarkable properties. Very few of us eat any meal without salt. Salt gives flavor to that which it comes in contact with. And you can nearly always tell when it is missing. Something is lacking. Salt also has great preservative properties and prevents decay (i.e. salt pork). So it should be with the Christian. We are in the world, but we are not to be of the world. We are to be the light of the world. (Matt. 5:14.) A salty Christian gives the right kind of flavor to the society in which he lives. He is an influence for truth and righteousness. To be a salty Christian requires that we live "sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age." ("in this present world." KJV) This means now, today and tomorrow, that we live godly lives, Titus 2:12, that we might be "salty" Christians.

Not only does the Christian give flavor to the society in which he lives by being "salty," his righteous life prevents the decay, degeneration, and downfall of the society in which we live.

Separation Is Not Isolation

To accomplish all this in the world, the Christian must associate and be with sinners in the world. Sinners need our influence. They are lost and without hope. (Eph. 2:1,12).

Many times it appears that Christians build themselves an ivory tower and remain inside. They will defend the truth if the tower is attacked, but otherwise they will never venture forth to share their faith in Christ (the gospel) with those who need it so much! I believe that God is not pleased with this, it is in contradiction to the great commission of Christ; "Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15). Separation is not isolation. Paul wrote "I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not mean at all with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters; for then you would have to go out of the world." (I Cor. 5:9-10). Paul did not mean then for us to isolate ourselves from those who need the gospel, but he had under consideration church discipline of the ungodly church member. He said in verse 11, "But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he should be an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler — not even to eat with such a one." (I Cor. 5:11) Paul not only shows us the importance of church discipline (and the cutting off of all association with the one disciplined) but also that we should associate with the sinner that we might be a "leaven for good," a good influence to bring sinners to Christ.

However, in all this, let us not forget the necessity of remaining steadfast in the faith (Col. 1:23) or else we will lose our "saltiness." Remember in our text that Jesus said "but if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again." Lost influence for truth and righteousness is a very hard thing to regain. Jesus said that a Christian who is no longer "salty" is "good for nothing any more, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men." A terrible consequence of losing one's "saltness." We must be militant that the world not get into the church, while the church remains in the world, doing the work of God. "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matt. 28:19-20).

(All scripture quotations from N.A.S.B.)

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