You are the Salt of the Earth, Part 2September 17, 2014
We’re already nearing the end of another year — and the homestretch of Phase 1 of our church building program in Moscow! The progress we’re making every single day on the renovation of this building is simply amazing. Transformation is happening continually as crews work almost around the clock to bring this phase to completion so we can begin meeting as a congregation in our new church home.
I think the same is true concerning transformation in our own lives when we work continually to submit ourselves to God and His Word. We may not recognize the changes that are taking place daily, but at times as we evaluate our lives, we can see that we’re simply not the same people we were one year ago, six months ago, or even last month! As we submit ourselves to His transforming work — by the power of His Word and His Spirit working in us — amazing things take place from the inside out that we never could have done on our own, by just self-discipline or a force of our will.
Last month I shared with you something I had on my heart about the effects of our transformed lives as believers on those around us in our homes, workplaces, schools, and communities. Jesus said, “Ye are the salt of the earth…” (Matthew 5:13). And what a rich, power-packed statement that was! (You can read last month’s letter in its entirety at renner.org/monthly-teaching-letters.) This month, I want to continue my teaching so we can truthfully evaluate our lives and ask the question, Are we doing our job as “the salt of the earth”? Jesus said that “salt” is what we are. He believes in us, and we need to believe too.
I shared last month that, first, salt was used in ancient times as a preservative and flavor-enhancer and, second, salt was used as an antiseptic. This month, we’ll look at three more ways salt was used to make people’s lives better.
Third, salt was used as a medicinal and healing agent. In Jesus’ day, salt was a very important substance for physicians and those employed in the field of medicine because they used salt as a healing agent. For example, if a person was severely wounded, salt was poured into the wound: 1.) to stop the bleeding; 2.) to sanitize the wound and protect it from germs; 3.) to stop the spread of an infection; and 4.) to speed up the process of healing.
In the ancient world where medications were rare, salt was an indispensable commodity in every doctor’s medical bag, and it was especially valuable in cases where there was an open wound. It is a fact that salt has healing properties that cause a wound to heal more readily. Therefore, in every home, business, and public place, salt was kept close at hand in case it was needed for the treatment of an open wound or sore. Salt was virtually always kept nearby for such emergency treatments.
That’s why when Jesus said we were “the salt of the earth,” those who heard Him readily understood that through our influence, we should be carriers of physical healing to a world that’s suffering with physical sickness and ailments. Through the preaching and teaching of God’s Word — and personal ministry to those who are ill — we’re supposed to be “the salt of the earth” that brings healing to those who are physically suffering.
The fact is, the power we carry within us is sufficient to administer physical healing to those who are afflicted with sickness and disease! You are a vehicle that God has chosen to carry healing power to those who are sick! When you look around you, is there evidence to show that you’re carrying healing power to those who are sick, as Jesus has asked you to do? Are you doing your job as the salt of the earth?
Fourth, salt was used to give protection from and to drive away evil spirits. Salt was also a very important ingredient used in pagan religions to give protection from and to drive away evil spirits. At the time Jesus said, “Ye are the salt of the earth,” Israel was subject to the government of Rome, and because of this, Israel was regularly exposed to the pagan practices of Roman religions. One practice of the Romans and other pagan religions of the time was rubbing salt over a newborn baby in order to protect the child from evil spirits or to drive any evil spirits away from the child. It was commonly believed in most pagan nations that salt had magical powers to protect one from evil and to drive away evil spirits.
The Romans and other pagans believed so wholeheartedly in the magical, protective powers of salt that they regularly administered heavy quantities of it to the thresholds of their homes and businesses, believing it would create a barrier so strong that evil spirits could not cross them to enter. They also spread it on their window sills, believing that salt could keep evil spirits from entering their homes or places of business through the windows. In the ancient world, regular, everyday salt was seen as providing magical protection against and deliverance from evil.
Therefore, when Jesus said we are “the salt of the earth,” those who heard him understood that through our influence, we are to show Him as a source of spiritual protection, safety, deliverance, and freedom to people who have been assaulted by demonic powers. By using Jesus’ name and spreading God’s Word, we can create spiritual barriers so strong that Satan is unable to successfully attack people who stand on God’s promises. We are to be carriers of protection, safety, deliverance, and freedom to a world around us that is “bound up”!
When you look around at the people near you, do you attempt to see that they are spiritually protected, experiencing protection, safety, deliverance, and freedom from the attacks of the enemy? Are their lives different — safer and better — because of you?
Fifth, salt was used as a fertilizer. Salt was also a very important ingredient used by farmers to enrich and fertilize their soil, thus producing larger crops that were higher in quality. If scattered even lightly on soil, salt could improve the quality of the soil, resulting in bigger harvests and healthier crops. Therefore, salt was viewed as an essential ingredient in the farming industry. The best salt nourished and stimulated the earth to produce better crops.
The phrase “the salt of the earth,” could actually be translated as the salt of the soil. The implication is that through our influence, we should affect the world in which we live. In other words, our very presence should enhance life and make this world a better place. The world that we touch should be the most productive, and our godly presence should positively impact the quality of life of those around us. That’s how much power we have as believers!
Therefore, when Jesus said we are “the salt of the earth,” those who heard Him understood that through our influence, we are to improve everything about life simply because we are present. As the salt of the earth, we have the power to make a difference everywhere we are scattered. Are you making a “seasoning” difference in every place you find yourself in life?
Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. — Colossians 4:6
In this verse, the apostle Paul uses the word “salt” to tell us our speech should be “seasoned with salt.” In light of what you’ve read in this letter, his statement should be clearer than ever. Someone whose conversation is seasoned with salt — instead of being downbeat along with the rest of the world — exerts a spiritually positive influence on those around him. He exerts a godly influence on his environment.
As “the salt of the earth,” your conversation can be seasoned with salt, and when your speech is seasoned in this manner, you will speak words that:
- ensure preservation while flavoring life and making it better.
- “disinfect” those who’ve been contaminated and bring healing to the sick.
- promote protection, safety, deliverance, and freedom, changing the atmosphere around you.
Jesus plainly taught that we are the salt of the earth! Considering the various ways salt was used in the ancient world, can you see what a powerful point He was making? If we’re doing our job as the salt of the earth, there should be fruit all around to show that the salt is doing what it’s supposed to do.
As you take a look around your life, can you see visible signs that are you doing your job as “the salt of the earth?” Before you do anything else today, why don’t you take a few minutes to reflect and see if you’re having the kind of influence on your world that Jesus wants you to have. The Holy Spirit will help you honestly assess your fruit so you can really see if you’re doing as “the salt of the earth” what Jesus believes you can do! I believe you can do it too!
Before I close, I want to let you know about three services Denise will be ministering in this month in the United States! If you have friends or family in the Bastrop, Texas, area, please let them know about the following meetings: Friday, September 19, at 7:00 p.m. (special Ladies’ Meeting); Saturday, September 20, at 9:30 a.m. (Ladies’ Meeting); and Sunday, September 21, at 9:30 a.m. in the main service. You can find the address for Bastrop Christian Outreach Center at bcocchurch.org — or call 512-321-2273 for more information. I am excited about this time of ministry for Denise and what the Lord will say to those who attend these services!
Will you please let us know how we can be praying for you this month? We pray for our partners every day, but hearing from you about your needs and the things closest to your heart helps us pray for you more specifically. We are truly thrilled when you receive answers to your prayers, so we really want to hear from you!
We love you and thank God for you!
We are your brother and sister, friends, and partners in Jesus Christ,
Rick and Denise Renner
along with Paul, Philip, and Joel and their families