Why did Jesus call the believers the salt of the earth in Matthew 5:13-16?

Jesus says in Matthew 5:13, “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men” (also Mark 9:49-50).

Salt has a unique quality as a preservative. Before the days of refrigeration and other modern modes of preserving food, salt and spices were largely used for preservation. In ancient Palestine salt was used also for this purpose for seasoning (Job 6:6). In a similar way, Christ wants His followers to be preservers by becoming a tool in saving others through the spreading of the gospel. Christians should set the salvation of others as their main goal. They are not to isolate themselves out from society but to stay in close connection with people.

Salt was added to every sacrifice in the sacrificial system (Leviticus 2:13; Ezekiel 43:24; Mark 9:49). This symbolized the righteousness of Christ. In like manner, the believer’s lives should be “a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God” (Romans 12:1) and they must be salted by the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ.

It would be as impossible for a individual to lose his Christ-like characteristics and still be a Christian as it would be for salt to lose its saltiness and still be considered and used as salt. If a Christian is such in name only, his heavenly nationality becomes a mockery. He is not a Christian unless he shows the character of Christ. When the love and power of Christ are lost from the life of a confessed believer, he is “good for nothing” as the verse in Mathew 5:13 states.

A Christian by name only cannot give to others what he does not himself possess. Therefore, Jesus invites us to drink of His fountain of truth and reflect His image into our lives that people may see our good deeds and glorify our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team


 


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