The Pinnacle of Godly character is the Lord Jesus Christ. He spent a significant amount of His ministry discussing character and conduct. We must look to His perfect example and emulate it. Let’s focus our attention on Matthew chapter 5 verse 13.
“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” (Matt. 5:13)
What is salt? What does it do?
Salt, as most of us know, is a crystalline compound composed of sodium and chloride. Salt is typically used as a preservative or flavor enhancement. Jesus calls His disciples the “salt of the earth.”
“For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.” (Mark 9:49-50)
Jesus tells us “salt is good.” This is in the context of sacrificing. Notice Lev. 2:13. Every offering was to be made with salt. God required ancient Israel to salt the things being sacrificed to Him. Again, salt adds flavor, therefore the followers of Jesus Christ must add flavor to the earth. Let’s look at what Paul says about sacrifices in his epistle to the Romans.
A Living Sacrifice?
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (Rom. 12:1)
Paul explains we are to present our bodies as a living sacrifice. God says all offerings must be salted according to Lev. 2:13. So if we are to be living sacrifices, we must be salted as God requires. (More on what it means to be salted later in this post.) Reread Mark 9:49-50. In these verses, Jesus is explaining how the law of salted offerings applies to His disciples.
Notice, Jesus Christ says, “Have salt within yourselves.” Typically, most items are salted from without, but Jesus tells us we should have salt within ourselves and we are the salt of the earth. We are also to present our bodies as a living sacrifice and sacrifices must be salted. These verses clearly deal with conduct and character. Just think about the character of salt. Salt adds flavor, enhancing or dominating any other flavors present. This is generally true unless the salt is diluted or watered down. Any one following Christ should have a similar affect on his surroundings unless his character is conforming (being diluted) by the things around him. We should meditate on this deeply.
Let’s reflect back on Romans 12. Paul said we should be as living sacrifices. What is a living sacrifice? Let’s define the terms! A sacrifice is a clean thing given up in dedication to God in context of the bible. Living is self-explanatory: however, we should define it biblically. According to Gen. 2:7, Adam became a living soul after the breath of life was breathed into him by God. Therefore, living is a result of having the breath of life. Of course, this is physical living and should not be confused with spiritual living. (See Are You Living for more on the topic.) The essence of a biblical sacrifice is a life is taken. Paul says we are to present our bodies as a living sacrifice. This means we are to live our lives as if our lives had been physically given up for God’s purpose. Our actions are no longer our own. Our actions serve the purpose of God. We stop living for the goals and plans of self while trying our best to fulfill the will of God. (ref. Rom. 12:2)
Paul’s words in Rom. 12:2 compliments the words of Jesus in Mark 9:43-48. Please read those verses carefully.
We, as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ and heirs of the promises of God the Father, must deny ourselves, sacrificing our bodies to the service of God. This is about character and conduct. We must, as faithful believers, conduct ourselves in a way that glorifies our Father in heaven (Matt. 5:16). Thus, as a living sacrifice, our character and conduct points others to God, enhancing their lives like salt.
“Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.6Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” (Col. 4:5-6)
As we operate in the world, we must conduct ourselves with wisdom. We must study God’s word for guidance and pray for His wisdom (James 1:5). Even our speech must be seasoned with salt! Our actions and words must glorify God while enhancing the lives of those around us whether they are believers or not. We are not to be pleasers of men, but we are to accomplish works pleasing to God. What chef asks the food he is preparing, “How would you like to be seasoned?” Likewise, we should not seek to appease men, but seek God for what we shall do unto them.
“If the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it?” The words “lost his saltness” means to become saltless or insipid. Insipid means without distinctive or stimulating qualities; without sufficient taste to be pleasing; bland.
We have to be careful not to become insipid, bland. Through God, we must try to maintain our ability to positively impact the world. This can only be done by being a fully salted living sacrifice. Remember nothing insipid can salt something else.
There is a stern warning in Matt. 5:13 to the believers who have lost their saltness. “But if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” If we lose our flavor, we will be seen as good for nothing. Useless salt will be cast out and trampled by men. Make sure that your life is a living sacrifice to God and salted to His pleasure.
As we wait for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ and the world descends further into chaos, we must strive not to become insipid. God can and will preserve us, but we must put some of our own effort into remaining steadfast in the faith. Be reassured in this promise:
“He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.” (Rev. 21:7)