Who is Jesus referring to as "the salt of the earth" in Matthew 5:13?


Clarify Share Report Asked April 18 2014 Photo Anthony Clinton

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Q jcryle001 JD Abshire
In the last verse of the previous chapter, v. 25 "And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan."

Verse 1 of Chapter 5 begins: "And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:" 
In verses 2-12 Christ teaches the Beatitudes. 

Matthew 5:13 "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men."

Considering that upon commissioning his disciples Christ stated in Matthew 10:5-6 " These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."

And again in Matthew 15:21 he responded to the Greek woman whose daughter was possessed: "But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
The record of this same account In Mark 7:27 reads: " But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it unto the dogs."

The fact that he was in Israel and personally declared that he was sent only to his chosen people Israel, I firmly believe he was speaking to those present which were Jews. This is not to say that there is not another application.

However, it is a fact of historical record that In 70 AD the occcupants of Jerusalem were definitely cast out and trodden under foot by the Romans.

April 19 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Photo Anthony Clinton Teacher in China
Context is so important when dealing with this Scripture and looking at the verses prior to this verse we see it’s talking to the Church. The Church first began with Jewish converts and would spread to the Gentiles from Acts 10 onward. 

Mat 5:11..Blessed are you when men shall revile you and persecute you, and shall say all kinds of evil against you falsely, for My sake. 
Mat 5:12..Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for your reward in Heaven is great. For so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. 
Mat 5:13..You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt loses its savor, with what shall it be salted? It is no longer good for anything, but to be thrown out and to be trodden underfoot by men. 

He was speaking to those whose reward in heaven was great, to those who would be persecuted for bearing Christ’s Name, so it was not a message to all of Israel but to those who bear reproach for Christ’s Name. This is the called out ones, called the ecclesia, the Church. The Church has never been an organization though it may be administered as one. The Church is the Body of Christ made up of individuals that have been born again into the Church. 
So then, knowing this is addressing the Christian Church, how can the Salt become tasteless and worthless? 
There are two elements in salt and Science has discovered that it is extremely difficult to separate them, but once they have been separated they can never be united again. This is a picture of an apostate that is described in Hebrews 10 and Hebrews 6. In Hebrews 10: 26, 27 when a Christian yields their will back to sin by throwing away their confidence in Christ permanently, they can never be re-united again. This is not the state of a backslider who goes astray but the kind of Christian described in Galatians who nullifies the work of Christ in their lives by going back to the Old Covenant and thus falling from grace. It’s speaking of a permanent choice to return to the world and sin. Anyone who feels conviction and guilt for sin has not committed this sin of apostasy. Please note that the writer includes himself “if we sin willfully” when addressing them about this apostasy so that it could not be talking to unbelievers in any state or form but it is to Christians he writes the message. Hebrews 10:32-35 proves that these were Christians because they had suffered the loss for following Christ and began with confidence that they should not cast away. He is talking to “the Just” ones who are living by faith and tells them that if they “draw back” God will no longer delight in them. That is the context of Hebrews 10 and that is how salt loses it’s element of taste.

April 20 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Grant Abbott Child of Father, Follower of Son, Student of Spirit
Salt has two primary purposes, as a "preservative" to extend the usefulness of food and as a "seasoning" to improve the taste and enjoyment of food. Jesus is using this metaphor to explain the mission of the church and to encourage us not to back away from persecution.

Jesus came to bring the kingdom of God to earth. To establish justice, righteousness, love and faithfulness and push back evil, wickedness, corruption and decay. Jesus commissioned the church to carry on this mission. As we pursue this mission we will clash with the forces of evil who will persecute us and use every means at their disposal to stop us. 

Jesus is telling us to persevere, don't give up, don't back down. Our value to the kingdom of God, to establish and preserve what is important to God, depends on our faithfulness in carrying out our mission. If we back down or turn away, we become useless to the kingdom of God, like salt that has lost its saltiness.

This doesn't mean we have lost our salvation, it simply means we have lost of usefulness to God, we are no longer fulfilling our plan and purpose from God. The result is our loss of rewards, not our salvation.

Salt also provides seasoning to flavour our food. The apostle Paul says "Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone" (Colossians 4:6). The conduct of our lives shows people the abundantly fulfilling and deeply satisfying life that Jesus came to give us. As we deliver the grace of God to people in its various forms, they get a taste of the "goodness" of God (like tasty food) and they want more. We continue to feed people with the Word of God and our loving grace until they hunger and thirst for a right relationship with God, and receive his salvation.

If, as Christians, we stop loving people and delivering God's grace to them, how will they ever "taste and see that the Lord is good". Again, we will become useless to the kingdom of God in bringing people along on their journey to receive His salvation. When salt loses its ability to season, what good is it? We must continue to deliver spiritual food, sprinkled with salt, to fulfil God's plan and purpose for our lives, otherwise we will lose our reward, not our salvation.

February 03 2021 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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