Jesus has just finished telling the crowds of the cost of discipleship: you must love Him above everything or you cannot be His disciple. This is costly, but we must be willing to pay the price and follow Him to the end. If we only follow Him halfway, we will be mocked by men. Jesus closes His teachings by talking about salt.
Salt has two uses: enhancing flavor and preserving food. Salt makes food taste better and helps you to enjoy the flavor more. It was also used at this time in place of refrigeration. Meat would be packed in salt to prevent its decay.
Salt can become unsavory. This does not mean that it completely loses its properties, but that it has become corrupted to the point where it cannot be used to flavor food or preserve meat. At this point salt cannot be thrown in the garden; it will prevent things from growing. It cannot be thrown on the trash pile; it will prevent things from rotting. Men simply cast it out.
The meaning of the illustration
God’s people are salt. We are to enhance the flavor of life. We are to bring meaning to suffering, help people “taste” marriage, children, service, etc. differently and see the glory of Jesus in all of life. We are also to prevent the decay of our society by proclaiming the Gospel and living lives for Jesus and His glory.
We can become corrupted. In the context, Jesus is referencing not living a life fully devoted to Him. A Christian’s life loses its saltiness when we focus on our marriage, children, health, etc. instead of Jesus Christ. At this point we become worthless. We cannot be used to help Godly things grow. Our compromised heart will stop the Spirit of God from bearing fruit in our churches, families, and lives. At the same time, our compromised lives will not let things rot that must go. We in essence carry the money changers’ table back into the temple after Jesus cast it out.
At this point we will be rejected by men. This rejection is not persecution; it is righteousness. They are not rejecting Christianity; they are rejecting hypocrisy and compromise. They are casting out what Jesus will spew out of His mouth (Revelation 3:16.)
Are you living a life devoted to Jesus Christ? Have you let other things creep in and cloud your devotion to Him? This is the reason our society is rejecting the Christian worldview and decaying so rapidly. It is not the world’s fault; it is our own. We have ceased to live for Jesus and instead have lived for marriage, children, family, and self. Like the man who stopped building the tower, the world is right to mock us and reject us.
There are things the Spirit is seeking to do in our world, but we hinder His work because of our compromised heart. There are things that He is trying to throw out, but we keep bringing them back into our lives because of our wives, our children, our traditions, etc.
Many people who are leaving the faith and deconstructing their faith are right to do so. What they are casting out is compromised Christianity. They have seen the hypocrisy, and they are right to reject it!
Instead of getting angry with the rotting world, we must repent and seek Christ with our whole being. We must love Him above all. What He wants to grow we must pursue. What He wants to remove we must cast out.