Jesus states in Sunday’s mini-parable, “Salt is good.” Salt has been used to illustrate many things. Consider it here to be that which purges, purifies, and ultimately preserves what it has rendered good.
Such “good salt” can first be understood to be Christ and His life in this sinful world. He—the good salt—can alone reverse the rottenness of this world and give it preservation. Even in the kingdom of the left His words of wisdom and instruction were salt in a putrid world of vain philosophies and worldly wisdom. His words about issues such as love, marriage and morality stand as law-related salt to preserve a culture and society gone awry in these matters.
Christ’s miraculous and powerful presence was the salt that purged the decay of disease and demons, even calling forth the dead from their graves. Those healed, exorcised or resurrected by Christ were then freed in Christ to lead lives of salt-created purity.
The foundation of mankind’s rottenness is sin. All of Christ’s salty words and works would initially be welcomed as people perceived Him to be an earthly philosopher and provider. Thus at first Christ received a wondrous welcome. But His salty words began to expose corruption. In a short while His salt in this sin-fouled, putrid world would be declared “unsalty” and He, being perceived as not even good enough for the manure pile, would be thrown out of Jerusalem to be trampled underfoot, being nailed to a stinking cross.
Christ is however such good and powerful salt that His rejection becomes the saving salt for the world. He rises from the dead to establish a salt that preserves into eternity. The salt of His word, drawn from the salt mine of His cross and empty tomb, purges the corruption of sin. His salted people then—armed with His salty word— become themselves the salt of the earth.
However, even as Christ’s saltiness would be perceived by the worldly as useless, so now Christians—though themselves being salt for the purification and preservation of a society—find the world declaring them to be “unsalty” and worthless, not even good enough for a manure pile. The Savior thus predicted time and again the reality of persecution, even martyrdom. So Christians face the same expulsion and rejection as their Lord. Sadly such rejection occurs even within families, so that those family members who reject Christ are to be “hated”—that is they are not to be accepted in relation to their non-Christian counsel and beliefs.
So what is the outcome? Even as Christ was preserved, rising victorious from the decay-causing grave, so too Christ’s salty people are preserved. Indeed the salty salvation of Christ is such a powerful preservative that the Lord will preserve our going out and our coming in—even the going out of death and the coming in of resurrected bodies into heaven—from this time forth and even forevermore.