Salt is an indispensable requirement for the body. It is both a tasty condiment and a preservative for food. Jesus told his disciples, “You are the salt of the earth” (Matt 5:13).
They were to be the life–sustaining element in a dying world that would attract people to the gospel, and they were to be a preservative in a rotting world of sin.
Salt in Israel came from the area southwest of the Dead (or Salt) Sea. This coarse, impure salt from the saline deposits in the shallows of the sea would deteriorate, leaving a residue of tasteless crystals that were of no value to anyone.
Jesus commanded the disciples to “continuously maintain your saltiness in yourselves”—-that is, their usefulness to God’s purpose in the world. In the preceding text, Jesus had been talking about the characteristics of a disciple. The metaphor refers to the elements of true discipleship: obedience, self–denial, humility, purity, and a willingness to suffer for the kingdom.
Such disciples would keep their communities from corruption. As God purified them through the Spirit’s conviction of sin (Jn 16:8) and they recognized the need for personal repentance, they kept their saltiness (i.e., usefulness) for God.
Their “salty” impact on society would generate “peace with each other.” If the disciples had kept the salt fresh in themselves, they would not have been arguing about who would be the greatest in Christ’s kingdom (Mark 9:34). Each was lusting to be more important than the other (10:35–-45). They were losing their saltiness.
Soon the responsibility of world evangelism would be placed in their hands, so peace among them was vital (Col 3:15). To maintain their team spirit and bond of unity, Paul encouraged Christians to “let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt” (4:6). We are to keep each other submissive to His word.
Has sin corrupted your saltiness? Has your self–interest made you disinterested in transforming others? Can you be graciously confrontational?
“Dear Lord, just as salt is only useful if it tastes good or preserves food, I can only be useful to You if I possess the elements of a disciple. Help me be obedient, humble, pure, and willing to do whatever it takes to fulfill Your purpose.”