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Chapter 9


The Salt of God


And every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt.

(Leviticus 2:13)


Our Lord Jesus Christ was truly the prince of preachers. His preaching was never scholarly, eloquent, or entertaining. It was plain, powerful, and persuasive, simple, instructive, and enlightening. He found common, ordinary, everyday things with which men and women were familiar and used them to illustrate and portray great, heavenly, gospel truths. By the use of the most common things of ordinary life, the Lord Jesus taught eternity bound sinners the gospel of God. Following the Master’s example, I want to display the glorious gospel of God set forth in this verse of Inspiration, using salt as it is used here to set forth the way of life, salvation, and acceptance with the holy Lord God by Christ Jesus. One of the most common things in the world is salt. And salt is used of God in this portion of Scripture to teach sinners how to come to him by faith in Christ.


An Illustration


In 2nd Kings 2 we are given an illustration of salt’s usefulness. Without question, in healing the dead and deadly waters of Jericho, Elisha was typical of our dear Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Healer of all our death, all our barrenness, and all our Marahs (bitter waters). Elisha healed these deadly waters, by casting salt into them, and went toward Bethel. Some children from Bethel mocked God’s prophet.


            Those children, as John Gill rightly tells us, were not what we commonly think of as “little children.” They were old enough to be out by themselves in a large group. They certainly knew right from wrong. They took notice of Elisha’s baldness, and knew that he was a prophet.


            When they did, Elisha cursed them for their mockery (2 Chronicles 36:16) and two she bears suddenly tore them to pieces. And, as Gill put it, “from a malignant spirit in them, (they) mocked at him as such.” Being “taught by their idolatrous parents, they had an aversion” to God’s prophet and mocked him. Elisha was undeterred by the mockery of these children and by the judgment of God upon them.


            Salt is here set before us as an emblem of the gospel and of the grace of God proclaimed in the gospel. The same gospel by which God saves his elect brings everlasting destruction upon those who despise it (2 Corinthians 2:14-16). What shall hell be like for those men and women who bring their own sons and daughters into the bottomless pit by teaching them to mock God, his Son, his gospel, and those men who faithfully preach it; no mortal can imagine.




Salt is sometimes used in the Scriptures as an instrument of divine judgment. The first time we see the word salt is in Genesis 14:3. There we read of the Salt Sea, probably the Dead Sea. It was Siddim, the place where Sodom and Gomorrah once stood. The next time we see the word salt is in Genesis 19:26. There Lot’s wife was turned into a pillar of salt. Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Zephaniah all tell us of God’s judgment upon lands, making them perpetually barren by giving them over to salt (Ezekiel 47:11; Jeremiah 17:6; Zephaniah 2:9). David tells us that the Lord God turns the fruitful land into barrenness (margin – saltiness) (Psalm 107:34).


            The fact that salt is set before us in the Scriptures as an instrument of judgment shows us that it is clearly representative of the gospel, the grace of God proclaimed in the gospel, and our Lord Jesus Christ, who soon shall come to sit in judgment over all the earth (2 Corinthians 2:14-16; 5:10-11; Luke 2:34).


Salt for Sacrifices


In Leviticus 2:13 we are told that the Lord God required that every sacrifice offered to him be offered with salt.


“And every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt.”


            It is taken for granted that all true Israelites would bring their oblations and offerings of different kinds to God; and they did. True Israelites still do. But how is this to be done? That is the point. We should say with Paul, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” Then we might add another question. — “How will you have me do it?” Will-worship is not acceptable with God. If we bring God what he does not ask, it will not be received. We must only present to him that which he requires. And we must present it to him in his own way, for he is a jealous God.


            In this one verse (Leviticus 2:13), the Lord God three times expressly commands that with the meat offerings and all other offerings his worshippers were to offer salt. Does the great God that made heaven and earth talk about salt? Does he condescend to such minute details of his service as to declare that the lack of a handful of salt renders a sacrifice unacceptable? Does the holy, Lord God assert that the presence of salt is absolutely necessary to any sacrifice being received by him? He does indeed.


            Again, we see here that salt is an emblem of grace and of the Lord Jesus. Our only acceptance with God is Christ. We cannot worship God, we cannot serve God, we cannot offer God anything, until first our souls are healed by the salt of his saving grace in Christ.


Other Things Required


As we read this 2nd chapter of Leviticus, we see that other things were also required in connection with the sacrifices brought to God’s altar. The people’s sacrifices were imperfect. They had to have frankincense when they offered their sacrifice to God. God did not smell sweet savor in the bullock, or the ram, or the lamb, unless sweet spices were added. The best performances of our hands must not appear before his throne without the merit of Christ’s blood and righteousness. There must be that mixture of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, with which the garments of our Prince are perfumed, to make our sacrifices a sweet savor to the Most High.


            They also had to bring oil with their sacrifices. That oil was typical of the blessed Spirit of God. What is the use of a sermon if there is no unction in it? What is unction but the Holy Ghost? What is prayer without the anointing that comes of the Holy Spirit? What is praise unless the Spirit of God is in it to give it life, that it may rise to heaven? That which goes to God must first come from God. We need the oil. We must have the oil. We cannot serve God without it. But only God can give us his oil, his Spirit, and his grace in Christ!


            Then came a third requisite — salt. If you read the preceding verses, you will see that the Lord forbade them to present any honey. — No Leaven and No Honey! — “No meat offering, which ye shall bring unto the LORD, shall be made with leaven: for ye shall burn no leaven, nor any honey, in an offering of the LORD made by fire. As for the oblation of the firstfruits, ye shall offer them unto the LORD: but they shall not be burnt on the altar for a sweet savor” (vv. 11-12). God does not ask for sweetness, he asks for salt. Not honey, but salt must be added to all the sacrifices which we present before the living God.


            Do not come to God’s altar as a hypocrite, with honey. Come to God with honesty and sincerity. Serve God with honesty and sincerity. God will not accept honey at his altar; but he requires salt, the bitter salt of a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart!


Covenant of Salt


Salt is used in Scripture with reference to God’s covenant. God’s covenant with Aaron was a covenant of salt; and God’s covenant with David was a covenant of salt (Numbers 18:19; 2 Chronicles 13:5). And, blessed be our all-gracious God, we have acceptance with him in Christ by a covenant of salt, an everlasting, immutable covenant of salt! — We come to God, not on the footing of works but on the footing of grace in an everlasting covenant of salt. The salt of the covenant is purifying salt, justifying, sanctifying grace. The salt of the covenant is preserving salt, keeping grace.




Salt is also a token of communion. In ancient times, salt was shared between men who were sworn friends. Once a man took a little salt from another and ate it, he was committed never to harm his friend.


            Christ is our Salt and he is God’s Salt, “the salt of the covenant of thy God.” We serve God in union with Christ. We serve God in fellowship with him, seeking his will and his glory. We serve God in fellowship of his people. We serve God in the Spirit, by the Spirit of his grace, in harmony with God himself, as friends committed to one another.


God’s Provision


Salt, like grace, is God’s provision not man’s production. God only accepts what God provides (Genesis 22:8): Christ’s righteousness, his atoning blood, his intercession, his grace. Our Lord Jesus Christ, like salt, heals, preserves, and saves from corruption, cleanses, and purifies.


            Salt was never to be omitted in the offerings of God. Christ is “the salt of the covenant of thy God.” — Salt figuratively sets forth the Lord Jesus Christ and the free grace of God in him. God’s requirement of salt was intended to show in type and picture the importance and preeminence of Christ, his person, his blood, and his righteousness in all things.


            Where Christ is not, there is no sweet-savor. It is his blood which gives a fragrancy and a perfume to our most holy things. If Christ is the salt of the covenant of our God, and with all our offerings he is first and last presented, both the Alpha and Omega, in our view as he is in the view of God our Father, then is that Scripture blessedly fulfilled which the Lord delivered by the prophet: — “In mine holy mountain in the mountain of the height of Israel, saith the Lord God, there shall all the house of Israel, all of them in the land, serve me. There will I accept them, and there will I require your offerings, and the first fruits of your oblations, with all your holy things. I will accept you with your sweet savour; and ye shall know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 20:40-42). The Lord Jesus Christ is our sweet-smelling savor, our Sacrifice, our Salt before God (Ephesians 5:2).


            Christ crucified is Salt for God’s altar and Salt for the gospel table. Let this Salt be sprinkled everywhere on everything always and unsparingly! Salt heals. Salt cures. Salt purifies. Salt makes things tasty, savory!


            Job asks, “Can that which is unsavory be eaten without salt?” (Job 6:6). Our poor souls can never be accepted of God but in, with, and by Christ Jesus, our Savior. Our souls cannot be cured and preserved from everlasting corruption but by the Lord Jesus. So take God’s Salt (Christ crucified) and come to God. In Christ, with Christ, God will accept you as a sacrifice of a sweet-smelling savor.






Don Fortner








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