In the Bible, God refers to His children in various ways: sheep, brethren, little ones, etc. When Jesus refers to us as “salt,” He is reminding us that we have the opportunity and the responsibility to be an influence in the world. It is interesting that Matthew 5:13 follows the Beatitudes. In the Beatitudes, Jesus lists some qualities that ought to be present in every citizen of His kingdom. When we possess these characteristics, we will be a positive influence and make a difference in the world around us. 

Light is an external element that enables one to see. Just as a glistening, limestone city high on a hillside cannot be hidden for the light coming from its walls, so the Christian who shines with the brilliance of the Lord Jesus cannot be hidden from the view of the world. In other words, your testimony will be used by God; those around you will see it and be touched by it.

I would like to focus on the idea of our being called “salt.” In this one verse, Jesus makes three statements that need to be considered and understood by every child of God today. Let’s look together at them as we consider the statement, “Ye are the salt of the earth.”


In general, people do not realize the importance of salt in maintaining the life and health of their bodies. An exact percentage of salt is always present in our bloodstream, and any great deviation from this amount can result in sickness or even death.

Salt is a sustainer of other life, too. For this reason, sea water will support many more organisms than fresh water. As a preservative, salt retards spoilage. Also, it is a splendid condiment, adding zest and flavor to our food.

Salt in the Scriptures is said to be:

• A symbol of a binding covenant (Lev. 2:13)
• A healing and cleansing aid (2 Kings 2:20, 21)
• An stimulant to the appetite (Job 6:6)
• A preventive of decay (Luke 14:34, 35)
• A promoter of peace (Mark 9:50)
• A stimulant to our testimony (Matt. 5:13)
• An evidence of grace (Col. 4:6)

We are called “salt” because of:

A. Our preserving ability. Salt wards off rot and decay. It is rubbed into meat in an effort to preserve it. The inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah could have been saved by the preserving influence of just 10 righteous men (Gen. 19). I am convinced that the presence and the prayers of “salty” Christians have done more to preserve this world than anything else we could name.

B. Our penetrating ability. Salt will penetrate and infiltrate whatever it touches. It is an aggressive substance (Acts 8:1, 4; 17:6). I believe that we have been called by the Lord to be an active force in the world around us.

C. Our purifying ability through the blood of Jesus. Salt has remarkable cleansing abilities (2 Kings 2:19-22). Elisha added salt to the waters at Jericho. Christians have a purifying effect on the world around them because of the purifying power of Jesus’ blood. 

D. Our pleasing ability. Salt blends and adds flavor, bringing out the best in food. In fact, some foods are better off uneaten if they don’t have salt! In the same way, Christians should flavor the world around them. As salt, we are to live our lives so that we bring out the best in those around us (Phil. 1:27).

E. Our promoting ability. Salt creates a thirst for water in those who are exposed to it. As salt, Christians have a wonderful opportunity to promote in the world a thirst for Jesus. Remember what the Lord told us? He said that out of our bellies would flow rivers of living water (John 7:37, 38). When we take the call of Jesus seriously and live right, look right, act right, talk right, worship right, dress right, etc., then we have the ability to create a thirst for Jesus in the hearts of those around us. 

F. Our proven ability. Salt changes nearly everything it touches—food, ice, and so on. We are called to be thermostats, not thermometers, in the world around us. We are to be the instruments that God can use to implement change in a wicked world.


A. Salt was very valuable in the ancient world—in fact, the Roman Legions often paid their wages in salt. This payment was called a “salarium.” This is where the expression “not worth his salt” comes from.

B. In ancient times, it was possible for salt to lose its flavor. The salt in those days was far different from the salt we use today. Our salt is a chemical compound called chloride of sodium or sodium chloride. 

C. It is possible for Christians to lose their saltiness as well. This happens to us when, just like salt in ancient times, we get too close to the world. When we allow our wells to be filled with the world’s junk, we are practically useless to the Lord and His kingdom’s work!


A. In ancient times, when salt lost its savor, it was taken out and cast into the footpaths. It was used much as gravel is used today. Its only purpose then was to kill the weeds that might grow in the road and for men to walk on to keep their sandals out of the mud. Literally, it was to be trodden under the foot of men.

B. Every Christian needs to understand that when we lose our saltiness and when we cease to function as salt in the world, we have become good for nothing. We can most certainly lose our usefulness to the Lord and His work. When this happens, we have become something to be trodden upon and treated with contempt. Ellen G. White says: ‘“When Christians do not reveal Christ, of what value are they? Are they not like savorless salt, “good for nothing”? But when they reveal in their lives the saving principles of the truth, poor, sin-hardened souls are not left to perish in corruption. Good works are seen; for the living principles of righteousness cannot be hidden”’ (The Review and Herald, October 15, 1901).


I don’t know about you, but I want my life to be useful to God. I want Him to be able to use my life to bring others to Him. I want to be a blessing and a light for the Lord.

There is a tremendous need today for every child of God to be all that God wants him or her to be. We need to be focused on the business of purifying, preserving, penetrating, pleasing, and promoting so that the Lord can use our lives and our testimonies for His glory. May God help us to be salty Christians!

General Conference Ministerial Association