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.
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.
“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.