QUESTION: What does the Bible mean when it says we must be like salt of this world?

ANSWER: The inquirer is no doubt thinking of Matthew 5:13 which says “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.” (NKJV). The Lord Yahushua had just given His disciples the famous “beatitudes” in which He pronounced nine blessings on them if they were to live godly lives before a godless world. In Biblical days “salt” was used to preserve foods from corruption and it illustrates how a believer’s life can preserve this world from utter corruption. The believer has within him a new life, which is the divine nature, and that life is perfectly holy. Through it the believer himself is preserved from the corrupting influences of sin all around us. Peter spoke of this wonderful truth in 2 Peter 1:4,
“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lusts.” As we manifest this new life to the world we are indeed “the salt of the earth” and the Lord uses our godly testimony to prevent the world from becoming completely defiled and corrupt.

What is the secret to manifesting this new life? I ask this because even though the divine nature we possess is perfectly holy, we still have the old, corrupt fallen nature that we inherited from Adam. The old nature, which scripture calls “the flesh,” is ever ready to rear its ugly head, and when this happens we bring dishonor to Christ and the “salt loses its flavor,” which simply means the believer loses his testimony before the world. This, in turn, causes the world to look down on the Christian with contempt and to reject them, as seen in those solemn words “It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.” Thankfully “the secret” to manifesting the new life and remaining the “salt of the earth” is found, not in ourselves, but in the power of the Holy Spirit. Consider the following words from Galatians 5:16, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh.” To “walk in the Spirit” is to walk in the power and control of the Spirit, and if we yield ourselves to Him, we are guaranteed that we will “not fulfil the lusts of the flesh.” We are either manifesting “the flesh” or the “new nature,” and if our lives are yielded to the Spirit, the flesh will be annulled of its power and the blessed new nature, which is the very life of Christ, will be seen. That is the blessed fruit of the Spirit as seen in Galatians 5:21-22, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” These are the moral qualities of the new life we’ve been given and if we are filled with the Spirit, this is what the world will see. We will then be to them “the salt of the earth,” and our testimony may indeed lead to the salvation of precious souls so that they too can “escape the corruption that is in the world through lust.”

In closing, it is sobering to think of how evil and corrupt this world has become, and it’s only going to get worse. The apostle Paul said in 2 Timothy 3:1, “…that in the last days perilous times shall come”. He went on to list the corruption of these days in verses 2-5. Later in that chapter he said, in verse 13, “evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” Yet we have seen that believers who are yielded to the Spirit are indeed preserving this world from total and utter corruption. The time is coming when all believers, who by the Spirit are keeping back the full tide of evil, will be called home to glory. This truth is seen in 2 Thessalonians 2:7. It says, “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.” The Holy Spirit dwelling in believers is the great “restrainer” of evil and corruption, but soon He, and the believers He indwells, will be “taken out of the way” at the Rapture. We think the world can’t get any worse, but once the “salt of this earth” is removed, the world will be as it was in the days of Noah, as recorded in Genesis 6:12, “And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt: for all flesh had corrupted His way upon the earth.” The world was ripe for judgment then, and it will be ripe for judgment once again. Dear brothers and sisters, before we are summoned to glory and the world is completely corrupted, let us take heed to our Savior’s words; let us be, by His grace, “the salt of this earth.”

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