What is the meaning of Matthew 5:13? And how can we be the Salt of the Earth?
In Matthew 5:13, Jesus said you are the salt of the earth. But what does that mean? And how does it affect our lives as Christians? In this Bible study, we’ll explore the meaning of being the salt of the earth and discover the lesson Jesus was teaching us about applying it to our daily lives and the lives of others in this scripture.
Bible Verse about salt losing its saltiness
You are the salt of the earth; but if the 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.
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
In this famous sermon and popular scripture, we learn that followers of Christ are to give flavor to a tasteless world and be the light in a dark world too. But in this devotional, we’ll focus completely on salt because there’s plenty to savor in it.
Everyone loves salty food! Potato chips, French fries (anything fried, right?), pizza, pretzels, and the list of yummy foods could go on forever…
But doctors and dieticians tell us not to eat too many salty foods because they’re bad for our health. And they say we should check the amount of sodium on food labels. Because a little salt goes a long way.
But if you take too much saltiness out of these foods, they lose their flavor, and we lose our lust for them.
The same is true in our spiritual lives too.
Spiritual Importance of Salt
More important than the amount of sodium in our diet is the importance of salt in our spiritual life. Even though we may not sprinkle salt liberally on our food it should be sprinkled on our hearts abundantly. Our spiritual health and the spiritual health of those around us depend on this kind of salt, even if our diet doesn’t.
Salt and Light
Jesus’ sermon in Matthew 5 tells us, Christians are to be salt and light. But what did Jesus mean when He said we are the salt of the earth? And how can we apply this lesson to our day-to-day lives?
In ancient times, before Jesus came to earth to save us from our sins, righteous people lived under the law of Moses. As God’s people they were instructed to make sacrifices for forgiveness. And salt was always a part of these special offerings to God. Let’s turn to the Holy Bible and read three verses that shed light on the importance of salt in the Old Testament.
You shall season all your grain offerings with salt. You shall not let the salt of the covenant with your God be missing from your grain offering; with all your offerings you shall offer salt.
Leviticus 2:13 ESV
Whatever is needed—young bulls, rams, male lambs for burnt offerings to the God of heaven, and wheat, salt, wine and olive oil, as requested by the priests in Jerusalem—must be given them daily without fail,
Whatever is set aside from the holy offerings the Israelites present to the Lord I give to you and your sons and daughters as your perpetual share. It is an everlasting covenant of salt before the Lord for both you and your offspring.
The covenant of salt was a reminder of God’s covenant with the people of Israel made at Mt. Sinai and a person’s obligation to be faithful to God in all things. When Jesus said “You are the salt of the earth”, He may have had this covenant on His mind. Because it represents the faithfulness of God and the promise of forgiveness fulfilled by Jesus Himself.
Now, we no longer need to offer these kinds of sacrifices to be forgiven. Jesus did the work for us on the cross. But as disciples of Jesus, we should still remember the importance of salt and the love of God it depicts in our lives.
Fun Be Salty Matthew 5:13 T-shirts on Etsy
What is the spiritual meaning of salt in the Bible?
To fully grasp Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:13, we need to understand the purpose of salt in the ancient world of Bible times and what salt symbolizes to us now in a modern world.
So, let’s look at some of the key elements of salt and find the spiritual meaning of this salt metaphor together. Here are some different ways salt is important to us…
#1 Salt is Stable
Salt is a valuable commodity because it is a very stable substance. The molecules of sodium chloride form an ionic bond that is extremely strong.
In the same way, salt symbolizes the strength of our stability in Jesus. Our faith is firmly bound together in the tangible, real truth of the Living Christ.
This stable foundation we have in Him is as factual as the science of salt molecules.
#2 Salt is Life-Sustaining
Salt is essential for life. Human beings physical bodies need just the right amount of salt every day. Without the trace amount of minerals and electrolytes in it, we will die.
But spiritually, we must have an overflowing amount of salt. We need this kind of salt for ourselves, so our spirit will flourish in this life and the next.
And we need it to season the lives of the people around us with the salt of God’s wisdom and love, so they can have this life-sustaining nutrient too.
#3 Salt creates Thirst
Each of us is born with a spiritual thirst inside of us. It starts out as a longing or a feeling of being parched but not knowing why. The longer this thirst goes on, the bigger it becomes. Until one day it’s full-on dehydration that quickly becomes an undeniable need and must be filled right now.
Movie theatres are the perfect example of this. They put a lot of salt on popcorn to make us thirsty so they can upsell us a giant soft drink.
As Christians, we don’t want to “sell” anyone our faith. We just want them to know who Jesus really is and to understand how our life is different from theirs because of Him.
So our goal is to sprinkle our spiritual salt around in a way that allows the world to see Jesus, become thirsty for what He offers, and lead them to the living spring of water that quenches eternal thirst.
The secret Christians have is simple. We know Jesus is the only One who has the power to quench the spiritual thirst inside each of us. And we have received our fill of His Living Water.
God created our bodies with a need to eat. And with that need comes another, preserving food for future consumption.
Since God created us, it’s no wonder He also gave us a natural way to preserve our food with salt. But modern technology has replaced our need to preserve food naturally. Now that we have refrigerators, chemicals, and 24-hour grocery stores we’ve conveniently forgotten how to salt meat and can vegetables. But the use of salt as a food preservative has been practiced for centuries.
This is exactly what Jesus was talking about when He said we are the salt of the earth. As Christians, we understand Jesus is the only One who can truly preserve life. And we know He took our place on the cross and became the life-preserving salt we so desperately needed Him to be.
But because of what Jesus has done for us, it is our responsibility to be the salt for others. Not that we can preserve their life, we know we can’t. But we can point the way to Jesus, our Life Preserver!
#5 Salt can lose its flavor
Salt is a flavor enhancer. But when salt loses its flavor, it also loses its purpose and becomes useless. Because let’s face it, no one likes tasteless food.
The common practice in Jesus’ day was to throw tasteless salt out onto the street where it would be trampled over by people’s feet and probably an animal’s too.
Sometimes we lose our saltiness as believers. We don’t intend to, it just happens.
We get caught up in our mundane daily routines, go through crisis after crisis, or get hurt by another church member. Little by little, we lose our taste for salvation.
The incredible joy we once felt diminishes and we find ourselves just going through the motions. Then, one day we wake up and realize we’ve lost our purpose too. We’ve become ineffective Christians, something we never wanted to be.
But unlike salt, which cannot regain its flavor once it is gone, we don’t have to remain stuck in this pattern of joyless, tasteless being. We can turn to Jesus and regain the purpose and zest for salvation we once had! And we can once again be useful and productive for the kingdom of God!
Now that we’ve learned the primary uses of salt, its power is undeniable! God’s Word shows us the value of salt in true believers lives and how it has a positive impact on us every day.
As disciples of Christ, Jesus has called us to be the salt of the earth. Because, when we share our faith, we are giving the unsaved world all of the redeeming qualities of salt just like Christ has redeemed us with His selfless sacrifice. We are showing them the stable foundation we have in Jesus Christ. And the thirst-quenching, life-sustaining, preserving power they can have in Jesus too.
Together, may we season the life of an unsaved person with the love of the Father and the knowledge and grace of Jesus Christ each day!
So, go out there and be salty. In a spiritual way, of course!
Printable Bible Verse Art from Master’s Hand Collection