ARE YOU SALTY?

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.

Coffman Commentary:

Regarding the question of salt’s losing its savor, Elmer W. Maurer, research chemist with the United States Department of Agriculture and a brilliant contemporary scientist, made this interesting reference to this portion of the Saviour’s teachings:

Salt was accepted and collected as taxes by the Romans from the people of the Holy Land. One of the main sources of salt for Palestinians, of course, was the Dead Sea, or Salt Sea. So oppressive were these taxes that the people adulterated the salt with sand or other earthy material (the salt to begin with was not our nice pure table salt).

The government purified the salt by spreading it in big vats or tanks, filling them with water and drawing off the concentrated salt solution or brine. All that remained was the earthy, insoluble material. Indeed, the salt had lost its savor because it was no longer salt. It was fit to be trodden underfoot.

And this was not the only way that salt could lose its savor. The surface waters of the Dead Sea, on evaporation, have a chemical salts content of about 31 percent sodium chloride, 13 percent calcium chloride, and 48 percent magnesium chloride, together with other impurities. The calcium and magnesium chlorides are hygroscopic (take water out of the air) and will thus literally dissolve the sodium chloride. A bitter tasting composition results. It was the custom to store vast amounts of this salt in houses that had earthen floors. In time, the salt next to the ground spoiled because of the dampness. Since it would be harmful to fertile land because of its salt content, no man would allow it to be thrown on his field. The only place left was the street, where it was trodden under foot of man. Thus the Bible was proved scientifically accurate, even in its many small details – for this was just a lone example.

We might observe that accurate, scientific investigation of any of the so-called scientific errors in the teachings of Christ will always have the same result as that discovered by Maurer.

Salt keeps food from being insipid and preserves it from corruption. Both these functions are performed by Christians for society as a whole. A little more salt (true followers of God) would have preserved Sodom and Gomorrah from destruction (Genesis 18:32). The world at large little realizes the debt of gratitude that is owed by the whole race to that relatively small percentage who truly walk in the commandments and ordinances of the Lord.

Good for nothing …

What a truly worthless state is that of the apostate Christian! The Saviour’s estimate of him is that he is “good for nothing”!

Luke 14:34-35 Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Coffman Commentary:

“SALT represented disciples who would count the cost and pay the price. Men who would not were as worthless as tasteless salt.” (Ash) …

Based upon the chemical fact that sodium chloride CANNOT lose its taste, that salt “(cannot) ever lose its peculiar pungency and power to hinder corruption,” Bliss concluded that “no true subject of regenerating grace ever has or ever will become utterly void of new life.”

HOWEVER, Christ said nothing of sodium chloride, the salt of that day being an utterly different product, which not only COULD but frequently did lose its taste. The illustration as here given by Christ posed no impossibility at all. “If even the salt have lost its savor” was certainly a development that Christ held to be possible, for he went further and declared that “It is fit neither for land nor for the dunghill.” …

Strict and demanding as the conditions of true discipleship assuredly are, the rewards are abundantly sufficient to justify any and all sacrifices required in following the Lord Jesus Christ.

THERE IS A SUMMER COMING …

Psalm 74:17 Thou hast set all the borders of the earth: thou hast made summer and winter.

Gill Bible Commentary:

… thou hast made summer and winter; (see … Genesis 8:22 While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.)

… the different frames of God’s people when under temptations, and clouds, and darkness, and when they enjoy peace and comfort;

… and the different state of the church, when affected with affliction, persecution, false doctrine, deadness, and formality, which is now greatly the case; …

but there is a summer coming, when it will be otherwise; (see … Luke 21:30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.)

Matthew Henry Bible Commentary:

The church silences her own complaints. What God had done for his people, as their King of old, encouraged them to depend on him. It was the Lord’s doing, none besides could do it. This providence was food to faith and hope, to support and encourage in difficulties.

The God of Israel is the God of nature. He that is faithful to his covenant about the day and the night, will never cast off those whom he has chosen. We have as much reason to expect affliction, as to expect night and winter. But we have no more reason to despair of the return of comfort, than to despair of day and summer. And in the world above we shall have no more changes.

Day and night, summer and winter, being counterchanged in the course of nature, throughout all the borders of the earth, we can expect no other than that trouble and peace, prosperity and adversity, should be, in like manner, counterchanged in all the borders of the church. We have as much reason to expect affliction as to expect night and winter. But we have then no more reason to despair of the return of comfort than we have to despair of day and summer.

BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE …

Hebrews 9:17 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

Where will I go when I die?

2 Corinthians 6:2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

THE FEW (cont.)

John 3:32 And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony.

Barnes Commentary:

No man receiveth his testimony – The words “no man” are here to be understood in the sense of “few.” Though his doctrine is pure, plain, sublime, yet “few,” comparatively, received it in faith. Though multitudes came to him, drawn by various motives John 6:26, yet “few” became his “real” disciples, Matthew 26:56; Matthew 7:22.

His testimony – His doctrine. The truth to which he bears “witness” as having “seen” and “known” it, John 3:11. Often many persons “appear” for a time to become the followers of Christ, who in the end are seen to have known nothing of religion, Matthew 13:6; Luke 8:13.

Matthew Henry Commentary:

From the certainty of Christ’s doctrine, John takes occasion,

[1.] To lament the infidelity of the most of men: though he testifies what is infallibly true, yet no man receiveth his testimony, that is, very few, next to none, none in comparison with those that refuse it.

They receive it not, they will not hear it, they do not heed it, or give credit to it.

This he speaks of not only as a matter of wonder, that such a testimony should not be received (Who hath believed our report? How stupid and foolish are the greatest part of mankind, what enemies to themselves!) but as matter of grief; John’s disciples grieved that all men came to Christ (v. 26); they thought his followers too many. But John grieves that no man came to him; he thought them too few.

Note, The unbelief of sinners is the grief of saints. It was for this that St. Paul had great heaviness, Rom. 9:2. [2.] He takes occasion to commend the faith of the chosen remnant (v. 33): He that hath received his testimony (and some such there were, though very few) hath set to his seal that God is true. God is true, though we do not set our seal to it; let God be true, and every man a liar;