Christlikeness is our witness
Matthew 5:13-16
Jesus' claim that we are "the salt of the earth" seems to have a more negative connotation to it tha...
Published June 1st, 2012
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This page was automatically converted from a module that was shared prior to the release of Published Pages. Additionally, the arc below was auto-converted from the arc created by the author (which used the old module), and so it is possible there are misplaced logical relationships.
notes 1452680587451 Disclaimer This page was automatically converted from a module that was shared prior to the release of Published Pages. Additionally, the arc below was auto-converted from the arc created by the author (which used the old module), and so it is possible there are misplaced logical relationships.
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2010-02-12 06:35:48
2010-02-16 03:37:31
Jesus' claim that we are "the salt of the earth" seems to have a more negative connotation to it than his statement that we are "the light of the world" - both, however, have to do with our purpose as Christians. 1. Salt of the earth (v 13) When he tells us that we are "salt" , Jesus doesn't give us an explanation for how we are to be salty (as he does when he tells us that we are "light" ) - instead, he gives a warning of what will happen to those who are not salty. More specifically, the analogy is applied to those who were once salty, but have lost their saltiness. As Jesus explains, when salt ceases to be salty, it loses its usefulness and is therefore "thrown out" to be "trampled under people's feet" - it is still salt, but it doesn't function as salt any more. Saltiness is the quality of salt that makes it fit for purpose, as it were; so what qualities make a Christian fit for purpose? These two short sayings have been given by Jesus during the Sermon on the Mount, after he has explained the so-called 'Beatitudes' - "Blessed are the poor in spirit, [...] Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, [...]" and so forth. If these are understood as 'virtues' which Christians ought to aspire to, then presumably these are the qualities which make us fit to serve Christ in the world. Thus, we stop being salty - we "lose [our] saltiness" - when we stop exhibiting such characteristics as meekness (5:5) or mercy (5:7), and Jesus warns us of the consequences of this: we will be "thrown out and trampled under people's feet" . God showed the apostle John that when God returns, he will send an angel to "gather the clusters of grapes from the earth's vine" - that is, those who bear the fruit of sin and not the fruit of Christ - and "[throw] them into the great winepress of God's wrath" where they would be "trampled in the winepress outside the city" (Rev 14:18,19,20). Those who do not bear the fruit of Christ - who are not Christlike - will be trampled upon in judgement by God just as salt which ceases to be salty is (or was in Jesus' day) trampled by men. This saying is not particularly judgemental, however; it is one saying in the context of a massive speech of encouragement. Jesus' chief aim here is not to cow his people into obedience out of fear of judgement, particularly as none in this life will ever be as fully Christlike as they can be. However, these words do serve as an encouragement, and a reminder as to just why we go to the effort of serving God in the way that Jesus expects - serving God is our purpose , or our reason for being . Just as salt exists to be salty, so Christians exist to be Christlike and in so doing to serve God by serving his people. 2. Light of the world (vv 14-16a) So, we are the salt of the earth; Jesus also tells us that we are "the light of the world" . In John's gospel, Jesus also describes himself as "the light of the world" (Jn 8:12). Are we light in the same way that Jesus is light? When Jesus came as the light of the world, he came so that we could have "the light of life" - that is, the light which leads to eternal life. This is a gift which Jesus as the light of the world bestows upon us by curing us of the sin which darkens our hearts. This is something which Jesus alone can do - no mortal man can ever forgive sins, so in this sense we are not at all to understand ourselves as being light in the same way that Jesus is. However, there is a great similarity between us and the Lord Jesus. Jesus uses two pictures to explain what it means for us to be the light of the world. The first is the picture of a city set on a hill; it would dominate the landscape for miles around it, and would be totally unmissable. Light pollution wasn't a problem back in first century Judaea, but think about nowadays: a city on a hill would pour out light all around it, making it glaringly obvious where it lay. In the countryside, unless you're really really out in the wilderness you only have to look in the direction of London (or Manchester, or New York, or whatever) and the sky will actually be visibly lighter, because of the impact that the city makes on its surroundings. If we are the light of the world, we are to stand out amongst those around us. Secondly, Jesus uses the image of a lamp, and imagines it first being placed under a basket and secondly on top of a stand. The image is clear: a lamp on a basket doesn't shine at all, whilst a lamp on a stand "gives light to the whole house" . If we are the light of the world, then our purpose is to shine into the world, rather than concealing our nature from those around us. In v 16 Jesus explains the relevance of these two illustrations for us. We are the light of the world, and so we are to "let [our] light shine before others" . What would this look like? Following on from Jesus' first statement in v 13, if salt possesses the quality of 'saltiness' then light would possess the quality of 'light-giving' - both of which we can relate to the situation of Christians possessing 'Christlikeness'. Our light shines before others when we display Christlikeness in our lives, when those around us see us serving Christ. 3. Witnesses of God (v 16b-c) If Jesus stopped at v 16a, we could well be left with the feeling that our life as Christians is all about living in a Godly way, in and of itself. Without 16b-c, we are simply left with a couple of exhortations to live in a way that marks us out as Christians, but with no aim or purpose. Thankfully, Jesus doesn't leave it at that, and tells us that we are salt of the earth and light of the world because we are witnesses of God . Our "good works" are not simply an end in themselves - good works aren't the ultimate goal of the Christian faith - but they are a means by which others might "give glory to [our] Father who is in heaven" . We display and use our Christlikeness not to puff ourselves up, or because it will gain us merit with God, but because God will use our efforts to draw others to himself.
10000000025990 25990 Notes 2010-02-12 06:35:48 2010-02-16 03:37:31 Jesus' claim that we are "the salt of the earth" seems to have a more negative connotation to it than his statement that we are "the light of the world" - both, however, have to do with our purpose as Christians. 1. Salt of the earth (v 13) When he tells us that we are "salt" , Jesus doesn't give us an explanation for how we are to be salty (as he does when he tells us that we are "light" ) - instead, he gives a warning of what will happen to those who are not salty. More specifically, the analogy is applied to those who were once salty, but have lost their saltiness. As Jesus explains, when salt ceases to be salty, it loses its usefulness and is therefore "thrown out" to be "trampled under people's feet" - it is still salt, but it doesn't function as salt any more. Saltiness is the quality of salt that makes it fit for purpose, as it were; so what qualities make a Christian fit for purpose? These two short sayings have been given by Jesus during the Sermon on the Mount, after he has explained the so-called 'Beatitudes' - "Blessed are the poor in spirit, [...] Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, [...]" and so forth. If these are understood as 'virtues' which Christians ought to aspire to, then presumably these are the qualities which make us fit to serve Christ in the world. Thus, we stop being salty - we "lose [our] saltiness" - when we stop exhibiting such characteristics as meekness (5:5) or mercy (5:7), and Jesus warns us of the consequences of this: we will be "thrown out and trampled under people's feet" . God showed the apostle John that when God returns, he will send an angel to "gather the clusters of grapes from the earth's vine" - that is, those who bear the fruit of sin and not the fruit of Christ - and "[throw] them into the great winepress of God's wrath" where they would be "trampled in the winepress outside the city" (Rev 14:18,19,20). Those who do not bear the fruit of Christ - who are not Christlike - will be trampled upon in judgement by God just as salt which ceases to be salty is (or was in Jesus' day) trampled by men. This saying is not particularly judgemental, however; it is one saying in the context of a massive speech of encouragement. Jesus' chief aim here is not to cow his people into obedience out of fear of judgement, particularly as none in this life will ever be as fully Christlike as they can be. However, these words do serve as an encouragement, and a reminder as to just why we go to the effort of serving God in the way that Jesus expects - serving God is our purpose , or our reason for being . Just as salt exists to be salty, so Christians exist to be Christlike and in so doing to serve God by serving his people. 2. Light of the world (vv 14-16a) So, we are the salt of the earth; Jesus also tells us that we are "the light of the world" . In John's gospel, Jesus also describes himself as "the light of the world" (Jn 8:12). Are we light in the same way that Jesus is light? When Jesus came as the light of the world, he came so that we could have "the light of life" - that is, the light which leads to eternal life. This is a gift which Jesus as the light of the world bestows upon us by curing us of the sin which darkens our hearts. This is something which Jesus alone can do - no mortal man can ever forgive sins, so in this sense we are not at all to understand ourselves as being light in the same way that Jesus is. However, there is a great similarity between us and the Lord Jesus. Jesus uses two pictures to explain what it means for us to be the light of the world. The first is the picture of a city set on a hill; it would dominate the landscape for miles around it, and would be totally unmissable. Light pollution wasn't a problem back in first century Judaea, but think about nowadays: a city on a hill would pour out light all around it, making it glaringly obvious where it lay. In the countryside, unless you're really really out in the wilderness you only have to look in the direction of London (or Manchester, or New York, or whatever) and the sky will actually be visibly lighter, because of the impact that the city makes on its surroundings. If we are the light of the world, we are to stand out amongst those around us. Secondly, Jesus uses the image of a lamp, and imagines it first being placed under a basket and secondly on top of a stand. The image is clear: a lamp on a basket doesn't shine at all, whilst a lamp on a stand "gives light to the whole house" . If we are the light of the world, then our purpose is to shine into the world, rather than concealing our nature from those around us. In v 16 Jesus explains the relevance of these two illustrations for us. We are the light of the world, and so we are to "let [our] light shine before others" . What would this look like? Following on from Jesus' first statement in v 13, if salt possesses the quality of 'saltiness' then light would possess the quality of 'light-giving' - both of which we can relate to the situation of Christians possessing 'Christlikeness'. Our light shines before others when we display Christlikeness in our lives, when those around us see us serving Christ. 3. Witnesses of God (v 16b-c) If Jesus stopped at v 16a, we could well be left with the feeling that our life as Christians is all about living in a Godly way, in and of itself. Without 16b-c, we are simply left with a couple of exhortations to live in a way that marks us out as Christians, but with no aim or purpose. Thankfully, Jesus doesn't leave it at that, and tells us that we are salt of the earth and light of the world because we are witnesses of God . Our "good works" are not simply an end in themselves - good works aren't the ultimate goal of the Christian faith - but they are a means by which others might "give glory to [our] Father who is in heaven" . We display and use our Christlikeness not to puff ourselves up, or because it will gain us merit with God, but because God will use our efforts to draw others to himself. notes
Arc
2010-02-12 06:35:48
2010-02-16 03:37:31
editing
Matthew
Matthew 5:13-16
NT
esv
"You are the salt of the earth,
but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored?
It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out
and trampled under people's feet.
actionresult
ideaexplanation
"You are the light of the world.
A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.
Nor do people light a lamp
and put it under a basket,
progression
but on a stand,
negativepositive
and it gives light to all in the house.
In the same way, let your light shine before others,
so that they may see your good works
and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
actionpurpose
discourse
10000000025990 25990 Arc 2010-02-12 06:35:48 2010-02-16 03:37:31 editing Matthew 5 13 5 16 Matthew 5:13-16 40 NT esv i456435 i456436 i456422 "You are the salt of the earth, i456437 i456423 but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? i456438 i456424 It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out i456425 and trampled under people's feet. actionresult 2 actionresult 2 ideaexplanation 1 i456439 i456426 "You are the light of the world. i456440 i456441 i456427 A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. i456442 i456443 i456444 i456428 Nor do people light a lamp i456429 and put it under a basket, progression i456430 but on a stand, negativepositive 2 i456431 and it gives light to all in the house. actionresult 2 progression i456445 i456432 In the same way, let your light shine before others, i456446 i456433 so that they may see your good works i456434 and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. actionresult 2 actionpurpose 2 ideaexplanation 1 ideaexplanation 1 progression 1 1 1 esv 25 a 50 discourse
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