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September 19, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Everyone will be salted with fire. ‘Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with each other’”—Mark 9:49–50 (NIV)
Growing up in South Florida, going to the beach was a fun but casual outing for my family. I never realized so many people don’t grow up with that luxury until I recently made friends with some girls in land-locked states who were amazed at my proximity to the beach.
Today’s passage reminds me of my recent realization because we have a similar experience when it comes to our access to salt. Much like how I grew up having easy access to the beach, we as a society have easy access to salt. However, the people in biblical times didn’t have such a luxury. Salt played an important role in preservation and sacrifice, yet it couldn’t be bought in fairly large amounts at their local convenient store.
With this in mind, we can look at today’s passage and better understand Jesus’ salt analogy. Jesus had just finished talking about ridding ourselves of anything that causes us to stumble or sin because of the reality of hell as sin’s consequence. However, He then says that everyone will be “salted with fire.” Immediately after this statement, He claims that salt is still good though, and it can only be good if it doesn’t lose its saltiness.
How does this all make sense? Let’s look at these three insights regarding salt to find out:
Salt prepares. Many Jewish sacrifices were first covered in salt and then consumed by fire. When Jesus claims that everyone will be “salted with fire,” He’s making it clear that although sin leads to an eternal fire, everyone will still have to endure some degree of suffering—especially those who choose to follow Him. Being salted will ensure that we’re equipped and ready to “offer [our] bodies as a living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1 NIV).
Salt is pure. Thinking back to the beach illustration, another reason salt was not as easy to access in their time was because their source of salt was the sand on the Dead Sea shores. Sand usually has some salt in it, but is mainly mixed with other particles which would make it hard for the Jews to use salt effectively. This is why Jesus emphasized that salt must not “lose its saltiness”—we cannot live boldly and faithfully for Him if we don’t keep ourselves pure.
Salt is shared. Jesus finally calls them to “have salt among [them]selves” in order to emphasize continual fellowship in truth and peace. Life in Christ means we also gain life in the body of Christ. We’re a part of His family, and part of our responsibility in that family is to keep each other accountable and encouraged in truth.
In view of these insights, let’s ask the Lord to make us more salty!
Pause: Take a moment and think about what it means to be salty. Jesus called His followers “the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13 NIV). Salt’s qualities included being distinct, valuable, and preserving. How are we, as Christ followers, like salt?
Practice: If you feel ill-prepared for battle, set aside more time today to read the Bible. If you feel you’ve lacked in pursuing pure obedience, take a few steps to change that today. If you feel alone in your walk, get plugged into a community group. Remember salt should prepare, be pure, and be shared!
Pray: Dear Jesus, thank You so much for being perfectly truthful with me. Thank You that despite the suffering I’ll endure as a result of following You, You’ve already secured my victory and given me assistance in the battle. Part of that involves being salty. Although it’s sometimes hard to be devoted to You, Your truth, and Your family, that is what being salty means. So, I pray You grant me that today, Lord. Amen.
Samy Rodriguez has been serving with the Calvary writing team since 2020 as a senior at Calvary Christian Academy. Before going to study communications, biblical studies, and intercultural studies at Palm Beach Atlantic University, she interned with the Calvary Communications Team and was a student leader in HSM (High School Ministry). She is passionate about communicating God’s Word and looks forward to continuing to serve in ministry after college.