You are the salt of the earth
Jesus makes this verse personal. If we are disciples of Christ, He’s talking to us.
Salt is a necessity.
The first thing to understand is that salt is a necessity of life.
Salt is a preservative
Before refrigeration was invented, salt was valuable everywhere as a preservative.
Salt is a seasoning
Just like today, salt was valued for the savor it gave to food (see Job 6:6).
Salt is a purifying agent
Salt was considered a purifying agent (see 2 Kings 2:19-22) We see salt used as a picture of God’s power in purifying as a provision.
Salt as a symbol of hospitality friendship and loyalty.
Sharing salt in the ancient world was considered a symbol of hospitality and friendship.
Salt in the Sacrifices and Aaronic Covenant
Salt was a symbol of the covenant between God and Israel. Salt is not changed by time, and is perpetual, and incorruptible, not rusting or spoiling It was a necessary part of the sacrifices in the temple. In Leveticus 2:13, God commanded that salt be added, saying ‘Every grain offering of yours, moreover, you shall season with salt, so that the salt of the covenant of your God shall not be lacking from your grain offering; with all your offerings you shall offer salt. Since salt is symbolic of the covenant, it is a necessary part of the offering.
It also symbolized God’s provision for the priests, the descendants of Aaron. God emphasizes the perpetual nature of this agreement in Numbers 18:19 saying “All the offerings of the holy gifts, which the sons of Israel offer to the LORD, I have given to you and your sons and your daughters with you, as a perpetual allotment. It is an everlasting covenant of salt before the LORD to you and your descendants with you.” Their service for the Lord was their provision and inheritance, perpetually. The priests were responsible with maintaining the spiritual health of the Nation before God. The ability of salt to preserve other things symbolizes the priestly duty to preserve the Nation. When the priests sat down at sat down to eat the part of the sacrifices that were theirs, the other person that they were sitting down in fellowship with was God!
The Davidic Covenant
When God made a covenant with King David to establish his kingdom, it was also a perpetual agreement. (see 2 Sam 7:11b-13). In speaking of this covenant, King Abijah of Judah was able to later say in 2 Chronicles 13:5 5 Do you not know that the Lord God of Israel gave the rule over Israel forever to David and his sons by a covenant of salt? It’s also a perpetual covenant, and speaks of the Messiah that would come through David’s kingly line.
Salt as a symbol of the New Covenant and the Citizen of Heaven
Christians have life in Jesus through His blood
The New Covenant that we have with God as Christians is through the blood of Jesus. (see Mathew 26:27-29) As citizens of Heaven we partake of this covenant, both here on earth and someday in our Father’s kingdom.
Salt is symbolic of the role of Citizens of Heaven as peacemakers. Just as the sharing of salt in the ancient world was considered a symbol of hospitality, friendship and peace, when we do the Will of the Father in sharing Jesus with someone, and they accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, they have a peace with God, made possible by Jesus’ shed blood on the cross.
Kings and Priests
The two places where a salt-covenant is mentioned in the Old Testament are the Aaronic covenant with the priests, and the Davidic covenant with the royal line of David. Citizens of Heaven are described Kings and Priests. (see Rev 1:5-6, 5:9-10). 9 And they *sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the scroll and to break its seals; for You were slaughtered, and You purchased people for God with Your blood from every tribe, language, people, and nation. 10 You have made them into a kingdom and priests to our God, and they will reign upon the earth.” We, the Citizens of Heaven are the ones purchased as the people of God by the blood of Jesus from every tribe, language, people and nation. Just as kings have to be trained for their rule, we like David looking after the sheep, are trained and sculpted into the people that Jesus can trust to reign as God would have us reign, in humility and service to Him.
1 Peter 2:5 reminds us that as Citizens of Heaven, we are priests of God, 5you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Priests serve God. Our service for the Lord is our provision and inheritance, perpetually. We the Church are responsible with maintaining the spiritual health of first the Church before God, but also sharing the Gospel so that those who will believe through His Word through us, will have a right relationship before God. The ability of salt to preserve other things symbolizes our priestly duty share the truth about God.
And, just as the priests sat down to eat their allotment, the other person that we are in fellowship with is God. As Citizens of Heaven, we are in fellowship with God, at peace with God, and we get to sit down with Him at His table, enjoying this “covenant of salt”, the enduring New Covenant made possible by the blood of Jesus.
but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again?
Salt is salt. It doesn’t change over time. If you left salt in a salt shaker for 1,000 years, when you came back to it, it would still be salt. If salt is truly salt, then it can’t really lose it’s flavor. If it does, then it wasn’t really salt in the first place. But it can be compromised, adulterated, diluted so that it becomes useless for it’s purpose. And our purpose is serving God.
It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by people.
If salt no longer has the properties that make it salt—the preserving power, the flavoring power that makes the world bearable, the purifying power, then it is really good for nothing much. The Romans would take salt that was of such bad quality that it wouldn’t be useful for anything else, and they would throw it onto their roads. If we lose sight of our service to God, then we will be an unhappy, unjoyful Christian. If that’s where you find yourself now, then Go Serve God. Make disciples. Fulfill your ministry of reconciliation. Use the gifts the Spirit has given you to minister to the needs of the saints and others. Be salty.