Read: Matthew 5:13  You are the salt of the earth. 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.

The story of Lot and his family in sinful Sodom is an example of how salt can lose its saltiness. After their servants quarrelled over limited resources, Abraham invited his nephew Lot to choose a place to settle down while he would then go to another place so that their men and families could be separated and find their own resources.

Lot chose to dwell in what was to him an attractive piece – the plains on which the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were located. These cities were located in economical prime land that was ‘well-watered’ but they were morally bankrupt and wicked cities. Lot ‘pitched his tents near Sodom’ (Genesis 13:13).

… he was thinking of how the cities could benefit him.

Why did he do so? Did he see himself as a missionary to the sinful cities, to bring them to repentance and turn them to God? The evidence is that he was thinking of how the cities could benefit him. By the time we come to Genesis 19, Lot is already living in Sodom. He had moved into the city. It was perhaps more convenient and attractive to live in the city. But it was a city that was putrefying with moral decadence and ungodliness. Did Lot say or do anything to address this? Was he salt in Sodom? Sadly, he seemed to be more influenced by Sodom than the other way round.

There was an occasion when Sodom was attacked by enemies and everyone and everything in it were carried away (Genesis 14). Abraham took actions to rescue Lot and the others and succeeded. When the king of Sodom told Abraham that he could keep the recovered goods, Abraham’s reply was filled with salt – he mentioned “the Lord, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth” and refused to take anything belonging to Sodom, “not even a thread of thong of a sandal” (Genesis 14:22-23). Abraham made use of the opportunity to sprinkle some salt on to Sodom. But there is no evidence that Lot made use of the opportunity to speak on God’s behalf or display the moral example that Abraham showed.

When God decided to destroy the sinful cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, He told Abraham His plans. Abraham pleaded and bargained with God but was told that there were not even ten righteous people in Sodom (Genesis 18:16-33).

… Abraham’s reply was filled with salt …

If there was any salt, it had not done much good. Moreover, the salt itself could have lost its saltiness. We can see this when the two angels sent by God to visit and destroy Sodom were taken in by Lot into his house to protect them from the homosexual demands of Sodom’s men (Genesis 19:1-29). Lot pleaded with the wicked men of Sodom and offered his two daughters instead. This in itself was not exemplary – and failed to strike a chord with the bloodthirsty crowd.

The angels began to act to bring upon God’s fiery judgement on the city and Lot was persuaded to escape with his family, including the two sons-in-law pledged to marry his daughters. Lot failed to persuade his future sons-in-law who ‘thought he was joking’ (Genesis 19:14). He himself hesitated to leave the city (Genesis 19:16). When asked to flee to the mountains, he bargained with the angels to be allowed to escape to a nearby town.

… when they compromise with the world or learn to love its ways.

While escaping, Lot’s wife infamously looked back at the burning city and was turned into a pillar of salt (Genesis 19:26). It was a fitting reminder to those who had failed to be salt in a decaying world, those who had lost their saltiness. What tragically happened after the escape (Genesis 19:30-38) is further evidence of the moral confusion in Lot’s family and the loss of their saltiness.

The disciples of Jesus will lose their saltiness when they compromise with the world or learn to love its ways. Instead of being different by remaining godly and faithful to Jesus, their love for wealth, fame, luxury or pleasure may lead to a loss of their saltiness.

Instead of being salt rubbed onto decaying food, they may take on the decay themselves. By not living as good and faithful witnesses of the holiness and majesty of God, they lose their testimony and their positive effects on the society around them. Contrary to what God had intended, the world would not be a better place because of them.

Consider this:
How does a Christian lose his or her saltiness? If you realise that you have lost your saltiness, what can you do to regain it?

Excerpted and adapted from The Sermon of Jesus by Robert Solomon. © 2013 by Robert Solomon. Used by permission of Armour Publishing. All rights reserved.

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