Mark 9:50 Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its saltness, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another."
Salt is important in the New Testament, and for all Christians. Besides our text for today, there are several other important passages.
Matt 5:13 "You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men.
Luke 14:34 "Salt is good; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltness be restored?
Col 4:6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer every one.
Why is salt so important, what does it mean? Especially when we live in an age where people are being told they need to have less salt, in an age of salt substitutes, and no salt diets. Many things can be said, salt is a seasoning, salt has been used as money throughout the world, and there are many expressions about salt – an old salt, rub salt in the wound, not worth his salt, we salt things away and we salt things down. Of all of the properties of salt, the one central to understanding what the Bible has to say about salt, is that salt preserves. In other words, when we talk about salt, we are talking about its ability to save things.
Matthew tells us that we are the salt of the earth, and he also tells us to make disciples of all nations – what is it we are to do? We are to bring them salvation. What is it that is going to save the world? Is it good works? Is it deeds of charity? These are important things, but by themselves they are not going to save the world. There is only one thing that saves, and that is the Savior, the Son of God, Jesus Christ. And the salt we need, the salt that saves, is Jesus our savior. Jesus saves us, and Jesus would save the world.
And that’s why the LWML is different from so many others organizations that do good works, and deeds of charity – because they have salt – that is, Jesus, and the gift of salvation is central to everything they do. You see, its not a question of being religious, or being moral or showing compassion, its not the size of your gift, or the number of your good deeds – the one thing that saves is Jesus, and if you are missing him, if you have lost the forgiveness of sins – that’s when salt, which is normally valuable, becomes useless, good for nothing.
When we read "Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt," we might rightly ask, what does this mean? On the one hand, it sounds like we should always have a kind word for everyone – but how does the salt fit in? It means that there is something more that just saying nice things to everyone – our speech needs to have that which preserves.
And this is where we get to Law and Gospel, for as much as we would like to tell everyone about Jesus, and how he died for our sins, how we are forgiven – if people do not see their sins, then how can they see any need for a savior. Salt preserves, but salt in the wound stings. We are wounded, that’s what sin does to us, and when we first hear God’s word, we hear a law that shows us our sins, and it stings. But without that salt sting, we might not have believed that we had sin, without that sting, we might have believed that we could live a good life, without that sting, we might have forgotten about where that sting leads, for as well as we know that the wages of sin is death, until we see the death that is in us, because of sin, we just don’t see the need for a Savior.
"Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another." There are 2 commands, on the one hand we are to be at peace with one another, on the other hand we are to have salt in ourselves. Which comes first? Salt comes first, you see if we have Jesus as our Savior, by his grace we will be able to live at peace with one another.