Q&A: Salty Saints

Salty Saints

Question

What does Matthew 5:13 mean?

Answer

Matthew 5:13: 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.

I suffered a stroke a few years back. Part of my problem was very low sodium chloride, more commonly called salt. Sodium chloride is essential to life. It’s a vital nutrient. You can’t live without it. Dr. James DiNicolantonio says this about salt and the body:

1. Salt makes food taste better, sweeter even, meaning you need less added sugar.
2. Salt makes sure you have the right amount of blood in your body.
3. Salt is an essential part of how you digest your food.
4. Your cell to cell communication system runs on salt.
5. Salt makes your bones strong.
6. Salt prevents dehydration.
7. Salt is critical to reproduction.
8. Salt helps muscles function.
9. Salt helps cells function.
10. Salt is important for the transmission of nerve impulses.
11. Salt is needed in our bodily fluids, along with some other electrolytes, to carry out the electrical impulses that control many of our bodies’ functions.
12. Without salt, your organs will shut down and you will die.

So you can thank salt for your life. Just like you thank water because you need salt just as much as you need water. [1]

This is an impressive list of reasons to appreciate salt, but there's more. Salt is also an aseptic, it aids in preventing infection, and in ancient times salt was used to keep items from spoiling. You can dissolve salt in water, however if you evaporate the water, you still end up with salt crystals. And its properties haven't changed. It’s amazing, not to mention very important.

Jesus said of his people, “You are the salt of the earth.” What would the world look like without Christianity? In his song "Imagine" the late British songwriter John Lennon wrote, “Imagine there’s no heaven ... and no religion too.” [2] That’s a scary thought! Without God and Christianity, you’d have a world with even more sickness, premature death, poverty, violence, economic injustice and corruption of every type.

Christians have created schools and hospitals. Christianity has been an inspiration for proper art, culture, philosophy, legal systems and politics. It has positively influenced our morals, marriage and sexuality. Christianity has played a major role in ending practices such as human sacrifice, infanticide and polygamy. Christians have made substantial contributions in science, technology, medicine, fine arts, architecture, literature, music, philanthropy, philosophy, ethics, theatre and business. The majority of Nobel prizes awarded between 1901 and 2000 have been to those who have identified themselves as Christians or had a Christian background. [3]

Mr. Lennon's imaginary world would not be so healthy if it was without the heaven and religion of Christians. I would not want to live in a world without "the salt of the earth.”

Jesus also says this about salt: “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.” How does salt become unsalty? In biblical times salt wasn’t always derived from evaporating sea water to a pure white form we commonly see on our dining room tables today. Some of it came from salt marshes that contained many impurities. What was left after being processed was a residue that was worthless and useless and was thrown out.

Christians are an important part of this world. The world needs the saltiness of Christianity. However, Jesus made it clear in John 17:14-19 that though his followers live in this world, they are not to be part of this world. In other words, the Christian mission is to influence without being influenced. But if we do become influenced, we then become a useless impure concoction fit to only be trampled underfoot by a world willing to oblige.

Stay salty, Saints!

Footnotes

[1] Marla Szwast. Salt is as Essential to Life as Water, The Salty Truth: Episode 1: A Dozen Reasons to be Grateful for Salt. [corrected] (https://medium.com/unpopular-health-stories/salt-is-as-essential-to-life-as-water-754b8e25559a). Last Accessed 4 January 2021.

[2] "Imagine" is a song John Lennon from his 1971 album called, “Imagine.” It was his best-selling single. It imagined an impossible world of peace without God and Christianity. An atheist anthem.

[3] Wiki. “Role of Christianity in civilization.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Role_of_Christianity_in_civilization). Last accessed 4 January 2021.

Related Topics

What is the covenant of salt?

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).