“You are the salt of the earth,” Jesus says, “But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot” (Matt. 5:13, ESV).
While salt is used to add to flavor, in Jesus’ day it was especially used for preserving. If salt is not doing what it is used for, what good is it? According to Jesus, nothing.
Jesus calls the church “salt.” Our lives and churches, indeed, should add flavor to the lives of those around us. However, just as important is the fact that these should also have a preserving factor. Yet, somehow, like the Israelites of old, churches and believers are yielding to the customs and behaviors of the world and idolatries around them. By and large, many have lost (if ever having possessed at all) a passion for Christ or burden for the lost. One area of idolatry is that of sports (not that sports are inherently wrong). How many of us have loudly and excitedly cheered for our favorite teams, or have felt nearly devastated because of a loss—sometimes even to the point of tears? But when was the last time you were this excited about Christ and what He has done for us? When was the last time you felt devastated because of the knowledge that so many do not know Him and are presently traveling the path to hell?
Although we are told we are are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation” (1Pet. 2:9), and “this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality” (1 Thes. 4:3), it is estimated that seventy to eighty percent of men in the church struggle with pornography—this includes persons in pastoral ministries!
Many churches are not only sympathizing, but even condoning, sinful practices God condemns. Recently I was passing by a church that had on its sign, “Pride” along with rainbow colors. Strange, God condemns pride, as well as homosexuality. Yet, many churches are boasting of both. Understand, God loves gays and lesbians, just as He loves murderers, thieves, liars, gossipers, etc.; nevertheless, He condemns the actions of such. We are told, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9-10). Each of these sins are forgivable, for we are also told, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (v. 11). The church does a great disservice to others when it condones sin of any kind. If we deny the disease (sin), why then do we need the cure (a Savior)?
But let us not ignore the more acceptable sins common in more “conservative” churches and denominations, such as gossip, pride, greed, jockeying for positions of leadership, tale-bearing, partiality, self-sufficiency, lust, various idolatries, and the list could go on.
A great evil condoned in many churches and by many believers is that of abortion. In fact, during a political convention a couple of women clergy smugly applauded this practice along with other advocates. Persons can seek to justify this barbaric practice all they want with religious jargon, but it goes directly against the very character and purposes of God. Part of the purpose for marriage is child-rearing, and this is to be done within the protection of the family unit. All through Scripture God is known as the God of life, and His desire for people is abundant life. Psalm 139:13 tells how God “knits” persons in the womb. Jesus declares, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 19:14). God condemned the practice of parents sacrificing their children: “They built the high places of Baal in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to offer up their sons and daughters to Molech, though I did not command them, nor did it enter into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin” (Jer. 31:35). To try to justify abortion from a biblical standpoint is sheer absurdity, and to seek to defend it on any basis of “love” is to misunderstand the very purposes of love. Those who seek to defend abortion do not know the character of God.
It is no wonder our society and world are in such a wretched condition, sickened with immorality, violence, and corruption. How can there be preservation if the salt has lost its potency? The modern church is in desperate need of true revival and spiritual awakening. It is not enough for churches to sing praise and worship songs. We need true, deep conviction of sin, and to repent of them. We would do well, and our world would benefit, if we would sincerely follow the example of Nehemiah. He fasted, prayed, and wept as he confessed his sins, along with the sins of his fathers and people:
“When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. Then I said: ‘Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you. We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws” (Neh. 1:4-7).
We need to pray. We need to confess. Oh, would be to God that He would send great revivals and spiritual awakenings to our present generations!