Matthew 5:13 “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour,
wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out,
and to be trodden under foot of men.”
The old saying referring to someone as “The salt of the earth” meant that they were good
folk, people that you can rely on. Salt of the earth type of person.
Salt has always been held in great value. Men were evaluated as to being “worth their salt”
or worth their wages. Roman soldiers were at times paid in salt or given a “salarium” “salt
ration” or money to buy salt. The English word salary comes from it.
Most agree that the phrase “the salt of the earth” derives its heritage from the words of
Jesus before us today. He declares that His followers are the “salt of the earth” but poses
the question concerning what is the impact if His salt has lost its savor.
I. SALT’S POSITIVE IMPACT WHERE IT IS APPLIED. Vs. 13a.
A. THE MULTIPLIED USES OF SALT.
There are many uses for salt. It is taken for granted as its humble shaker rests on dining
tables around the world. It has been a mainstay in mankind’s existence since its discovery.
At times in history salt was even used as a currency. Salt is an essential element in the diet
of not only humans but of animals, and even of many plants. Beyond seasoning,
throughout history it has been one of the most effective and widely used food preservative.
We will look at a few other uses of salt along the way but for our purposes it is most
important that we understand why Jesus uses it as an illustration.
B. THE BASIC USES OF SALT IN THE FIRST CENTURY.
1. SALT WAS USED AS A SEASONER.
As we all know, salt makes food more palatable. It enhances the flavor of the food. In the
first century as today we season with it to the amount that we have trained our taste buds
2. SALT WAS USED AS A PRESERVATIVE.
Salt retards putrefaction and corruption. Along this same ability there is support that salt
was used as a disinfectant.
Before we had refrigeration, salt was a very good method for inhibiting the growth and
survival of undesirable microorganisms. Salt works well as a preservative because it
reduces the water activity of foods. To lessen the water of a food the amount of unbound
water available for microbial growth and chemical reactions is reduced.
3. SALT WAS ALSO USED AS A HERBICIDE.
We mention salt’s ability to ruin soil for plant life because we find it so used in the Old
(Judges 9:45) “And Abimelech fought against the city all that day; and he took the
city, and slew the people that was therein, and beat down the city, and sowed it
Abimelech utterly destroyed the city of Schechem and to assure that it would not be rebuilt
he sowed it with salt.
An obvious example of the devastation that salt can do to the ability of soil to support life
is area surrounding the “Dead sea.” It is a area very appropriately named.
II. SALT’S USELESSNESS WHEN IT LOSES ITS SAVOR. Vs. 13b.
The Lord Jesus Christ focuses in this verse on salt that has lost its savor.
A. THE WORTHLESSNESS OF SAVORLESS SALT. “But if the salt have lost his
savour wherewith shall it be salted?”
Jesus is referring to salt that is no longer salty. Salt that has lost its salinity. He asks the
rhetorical question, can its saltiness be restored? There is some debate at to whether that
is even possible but that is not the point. Jesus’s question is, “If the salt have lost his savor
wherewith shall it be salted?” His point is not can this happen but what if it did?
1. IT IS GOOD FOR NOTHING. “It is thenceforth good for nothing.”
Of course savorless salt would be ruined. What would unsalty salt be good for? It no longer
has the ability to season or to preserve. Unsalty salt is worthless.
2. IT IS CAST OUT. “But to be cast out”
3. IT IS TRODDEN UNDER THE FEET OF MEN. “To be trodden under foot of
Where would it be safe to get rid of such salt? Would you want to risk throwing it out where
you might want to plant your tomatoes some day? No, you throw it on the path or the street
where you walk.
B. THE SPIRITUAL ILLUSTRATION OF SAVORLESS SALT.
Jesus is not giving His listeners a science lesson. The important message for us is a
spiritual message. Jesus told His disciples, “Ye are the salt of the earth.”
We are to perform the function of salt on this earth. It is our job to bring a savor to this
1. CHRISTIANS ARE TO BRING SAVOR TO THIS WORLD.
(Luke 14:34) “Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it
We realize that some people don’t like salt. That’s fine but for most salt improves and
enhances the flavor of the food where it is applied. In right application salt will suppress
bitterness and increase sweet. Christians are to improve the condition of the society that
they inhabit. By being the right influence God’s people will reduce the impact of bitterness
that plagues most society and enhance a sweet spirit.
Interestingly, in greater application salt will suppress the sweet and increase the savory
flavor aspect in food. Through this we realize the ability (power) that Christians can have
to bring change.
Jesus emphasized this in verse 16. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may
see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
Beloved, every one of us that has Jesus Christ living in us, we should be a positive impact
where ever we are. Our presence should bring a sweet spirit to bear. And where there may
be a prevailing bitterness seek to bring a sweetness to the situation.
2. CHRISTIANS ARE TO RESTRAIN CORRUPTION IN THIS WORLD.
Salt does not have the ability to change corruption to incorruption but it can hold back or
prevent corruption from spreading or getting worse.
Christians cannot change corruption into incorruption but by being the savor of
righteousness in this world they can restrain it. When good salt is applied it can arrest the
Salt is a truly amazing substance. It is a combination of chlorine and sodium producing
sodium chloride. Drink hydrochloric acid and you will be dead in minutes. Yet, amazingly
it makes up most of the gastric juices in your stomach. (Are you ready for lunch?) Add
sodium to chloride on a 1:1 ratio and it becomes a substance that is essential to life. You
can season your food with it (moderately of course) and, as we well know, it pleases your
Spiritually, when God adds the salt of His grace to the poison of our lives, the result is the
miracle of a regenerated life. As a result, Jesus calls believers, “the salt of the earth.” We who have been changed by God’s heavenly salt, Jesus in our lives, are here on earth as God’s heavenly salt to have an arresting impact on the corruption of this earthly society.
When Jesus speaks of the salt losing its savor He is not talking about losing salvation.
Salvation is as secure as Jesus Christ is secure. No, He is referring to one losing the
positive impact of their testimony and no longer having a positive impact for Him on this
earth. We are essentially useless for the cause of Christ.
CONCLUSION: Beloved, this message is for Christians. If there has ever been a time
when this earth needs salty Christians it is now. The corruption of sin is everywhere. The
perversion of sin is on every hand. Hollywood and the pop music world are doing their best
to normalize sin of the worst kinds and at the same time demonize Christians.
You and I as God’s salt of heaven have the savor of the Lord Jesus Christ in us. What is
He able to do? Do we not believe that Jesus Christ can do anything. Matthew 28:18 tells
us He has all power in heaven and earth. Is it not true that Jesus Christ dwells in us and
we dwell on this earth. Did not Paul make clear, Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things
through Christ which strengtheneth me?”
This world needs us to be Christlike salt. Salt that will enhance and improve for good on
the hand and restrain and hold back evil on the other.
To be perfectly honest, my tendency is to hold up in my little Christian corner of this earth.
But, how much seasoning can I do from there? How much restraining of evil can I do from
The salt has to come out of the shaker if it is going to season. The salt will have to be
applied if it is going to arrest corruption. Every follower of Jesus is the salt of the earth.
Friend, for the most part we have been talking to those who are saved. But, if you are here
today without Christ our desire is to be a savor of life to you. Jesus gave His life for us and
through faith in Him we receive God’s forgiveness for our sin. The Bible says, “believe on
the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.”