Continuing our series on The Treasure in the Field, The Influence of the Kingdom
Another metaphor that Jesus used was “Salt”. There are at least a couple of applications of what Jesus was saying in using this image.
Salt has power as a preservative. It has the ability to prevent decay and to halt the spread of corruption. If this preservative element, however small, is removed from society, society will rot. There is a tendency to decay, built into the fabric of the universe since the fall, that only the revelation of the sons of God can reverse (Rom 8:19-21). Salt works unobtrusively in this way; its activity is only noticed when it is no longer there to do it.
But sadly, at times the salt has lost its savour. As much as history is full of times when the kingdom has flourished, it is also littered with examples of times when God’s people “lost their savour”. And God used all kinds of emerging movements, like militant Islam in the seventh century or godless Marxism in the nineteenth century, to trample savour-less salt underfoot, as Jesus warned.
Bur salt also speaks of value. Our word “salary” reflects the fact that Romans soldiers were sometimes paid in salt because it was a commodity that was a bench-mark of value. One encyclopaedia tells us that salt has 16,000 known uses! And despite the bad press the church often gets, it remains true that its value in society is immense. Western civilization is an expression of the wealth of a Christian heritage – the kingdom at work in creating justice, scientific advancement, legal systems, educational development and moral frameworks to name but a few. The world is indeed indebted to the Church for the wealth that Christianity has invested in the culture!