Matthew 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
Jesus doesn’t say that we are to become the salt of the earth, but rather that we are the salt of the earth, if we retain our saltiness. Salt had two purposes in New Testament times – to enhance the taste of food and to act as a preservative. What does Jesus mean that we as believers are a preservative in the earth?
The nature of sin is to grow progressively worse. There is a downward course to any society when it departs from God’s absolute standards. God has to judge sin. When we turn away from God we don’t just turn to another standard, but to a lower standard. When society suppresses (out of love for evil) the truth it knows by nature, it deteriorates and its values and standards steadily decline. There are three ways that we, as believers, are a restraining influence on that downward trajectory of sin.
First, through our prayer for people for whom we have a burden. The only way that people are turned from sin is through the intervention of Christ in their lives, through the conviction of the Holy Spirit for their sin. Our intercessory prayer gradually opens others to the influence and conviction of God’s Holy Spirit so that they can turn to the Lord, be forgiven of their sin and receive a new nature which enables them to resist sin.
Second, through the reproach of a godly lifestyle. We demonstrate to people by our holy lifestyle that there is a better way to live. Dr. Lloyd-Jones said, “The glory of the gospel is that when the Church is absolutely different from the world, she invariably attracts it. It is then that the world is made to listen to her message, though it may hate it at first.” It is not just a privilege to become a Christian and live a holy life, it is a necessity.
Third, through being outspoken in condemning evil. Denunciation and proclamation go hand-in-hand. If there is a wound, the most painful thing that you can do is to rub salt on it. Christianity is not just the honey in our culture, sweetening it. We are the salt in our culture, challenging it, calling people to repentance.
We, as Christians, by God’s design, are the preservative which keeps our culture from self-destruction. Let us not lose our saltiness.