Summary: Explain purpose of salt in New Testament context and apply it to our call as believers

I. Purification

A. Newborn infant — umbilical cord was severed, infant was washed, rubbed with salt, and wrapped in clothes to keep limbs straight (Ezekiel 16:4)

B. Salt is acidic and there was no lysol, bleach, etc.

II. Perpetual Desolation

A. Abimelech razed Shechem and sowed it with salt (acidic qualities would burn the roots of anything planted) — Judges 9:45

B. Salt rendered land infertile — vegetation doesn’t survive in salty desert

III. Preservation

A. Preservative power made it a necessity for life (no refrigeration, freezing or canning)

B. Opposite of leaven which was produced from bread without salt and kept until fermented.

C. In sacrifices leaven, honey, and milk were prohibited because of their tendency to putrefy. However, salt was added to sacrifices because of its preservative nature.

D. Fermentation was associated with decomposition and death

E. Salt as curing agent was a sign of permanence — covenant of salt — constant, eternal nature.

F. Sacrifices required salt — though preservation was not needed on something being burnt — flesh without grace is unacceptable sacrifice (without salt it is bland) to God

IV. Salt came from Dead Sea and was stored at temple and given to sacrifice by priest

A. Salt was not brought by worshiper (just as wood for sacrifice was not) but was provided at temple and added by priest)

B. Stored in chamber of salt at temple

C. Saints must have salt in themselves as sacrifices at temple.

V. Flavor

A. Most commonly used seasoning in antiquity — they were not quite familiar with tabasco

B. Eating someone’s salt — sharing a meal with someone — became an idiom for loyalty

C. Salt of Dead Sea shores was of rock variety and because of impurities and occurrence of chemical change the outer layer was generally lacking in flavor and discarded as worthless

D. Though salt is remedy for unsavory meat /flesh there is no remedy for unsavory salt

E. Luke 14:33-35 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

F. One handful of salt would diffuse its flavor far and wide (just like light overcomes darkness, salt always overcomes blandness)

G. Have salt in yourselves, else you cannot diffuse to others

H. Salt must be dispersed or it is useless in a heap

I. Community as salt and light — contrast society

J. Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

VI. Salt can heal

A. Elisha used salt to heal bitter waters at Jericho (2 Kings 2:20-21)

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