Jesus said, “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.”1
Salt is chemically formed by sodium and chlorium atoms that bond to become the sodium chloride—NaCl—molecules. Jesus probably was referring to sea salt, because that is what people in the area used in those days. Sea salt was not produced by mining as it is in salt mines, but by drawing the sea water into designated “ponds,” and then evaporating the water up until most of what is left is only the salt crystals. Then you take the salt out of the salt evaporation ponds, dry it, and package it for distribution and sale. In other words, the sodium chloride crystals are set apart from the sea water so they are fit for use as salt.
While we were yet sinners, we were redeemed by Jesus2. This is like the sea water being drawn in to be processed. The sea water is not pure prior to becoming salt. Through Jesus, we are sanctified/made holy/set apart like the sea water. The evaporation and drying process parallels the process whereby we renew and purify ourselves, turning our lives away from sin. But salt sitting in storage is useless—it beckons to be used by mixing it into other things to make them better. Likewise, we are useless if we are not out there and about to be used by God in other people’s lives.
Salt, if properly stored, does not have an expiration date3, so how does salt lose its taste?
Likewise, we are called to be pure in the midst of this world that is full of things that can contaminate our purity. And once our thoughts are contaminated even just a tiny bit, they can grow bigger and bigger if we are not vigilant and faithful in working our faith to remain pure.
“Be well balanced, be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring, seeking someone to seize upon and devour.”4
We know salt loses its taste when it makes no difference whatever we put the salt into. So look around us and be introspective:
Are we different enough that people can identify that we follow Jesus?
Do we make a difference in the lives of others?
Faith cannot be taken for granted. It requires effort to keep it pure and not lose its impact.
Matthew 5:13, ESV
Romans 5: 8 WEB
Salt is essentially mineral crystals, it cannot decompose