In 2022 I believe the Holy Spirit is leading us to discover in greater depth who we are “in Christ.” And, as a result, we will be able to live fuller and more productive lives in the Kingdom. As I was reading the Scriptures the other night I slowly maneuvered through the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12) and into the Similitudes (Matthew 5:13-16).
In Matthew 5:13 we read, “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its flavour, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled on by people.”
The Message Version renders this verse as: “Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavours of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.”
The Passion Translation: ““Your lives are like salt among the people. But if you, like salt, become bland, how can your ‘saltiness’ be restored? Flavourless salt is good for nothing and will be thrown out and trampled on by others.”
Sometimes we read a familiar passage like this and it just sort of slides by. Your mind and your heart go, “Yup, I know that.” But unless you pause and think about what the people listening in person to Jesus teach at that time in Galilee heard and understood you can miss the intent of the verse and the application for today in our culture and time.
Salt is both a preservative and a flavour enhancer. No doubt its use as a preservative is what Jesus had mostly in view here. Pure salt cannot lose its flavour or effectiveness, but the salt that is common in the Dead Sea area is contaminated with gypsum and other minerals and may have a flat taste or be ineffective as a preservative. Such mineral salts were useful for little more than keeping footpaths free of vegetation. Thus the comment “trampled on by people.”
So, if we are the “salt” then we can either be pure and thus useful to the Kingdom and ministering in such as a way as to preserve people’s souls, seeing them come into the Kingdom and following Jesus. Or, we can be contaminated by the world and thus having lost our saltiness and effectiveness in the world. Of little to no value to the Kingdom and living like those who don’t follow Jesus and don’t worship and serve the Lord.
Both forms are called salt. Both types of people can be called Christian. But there are Christians and then there are Christians if you know what I mean.
As we start 2022 it is a good time to examine our hearts and lives to see if we are the true “salt of the earth” or simply something people can walk on and over without us having any impact at all on them? Are we cultural Christians or the real deal as believers? Are we part of a “Christian” sub-culture or leading in a counter-culture that is impacting the world? Are we part of the world’s system or are we truly living in the Kingdom and by Kingdom principles?
So, before we get too far into the new year of the Lord 2022 – it might be a good idea to take a good hard look at your faith and how it is being expressed in your life and within the community in which you live. Salt of the earth or…?