If salt loses its saltiness
- In an early post I suggested that "loss of salt" might have been associated with the Pharisees by the historical Jesus. However, Tim correctly pointed out to me that pushing these things back to the historical Jesus is very difficult. I still think that it might relate to the Pharisees in an earlier tradition, but there is no direct indication of that association in Mark, and at this time I no longer wish to argue its relation to the historical Jesus.
So what does in mean in Mark?
Matthew's context makes sense.
You are the salt of the earth = you make the earth acceptable to God.
If salt loses its saltiness = If the very stuff (followers) that makes something (earth) acceptable to God, loses its acceptability, how can stuff be make acceptable? It will be trampled underfoot. = If you followers lose your salt you'll be trampled underfoot.
It has been suggested that the 2nd salt saying is not originally in Mark. Maybe it was a margin note that got mixed in with the rest of the salt sayings? Maybe.
Here is another suggestion. Matthew clearly tells us the Old Testament still applies. That is not so clear in Mark. Mark is critical of traditions, and seems to say the old covenant can be reduced to a few of the 10 commandments, love God, and love your neighbor.
What if we take a clue from the "salt covenant" idea? Then we have in Mark 9 -
Q: If salt, what makes one acceptable to God, ( the old covenant) loses its saltiness, its acceptability to God, how can it (things?) be made salty, and acceptable again?
A: Have the salt of the new covenant in you. What made Christ a sweet-smelling sacrifice (love and forgiveness) should also be it you.
If that is correct, then Mark is saying the old covenant is void and replaced. Now look again at Matthew. Matthew recontectualizes Mark's salt saying, and immediately follows with "not a dot, not a stroke" shall disappear from the law. Coincidence? Matthew didn't like Mark's rejection of the old covenant!
Mark 9 now has -
Millstone/Gehenna - cast out of the church those that cause loss of faith, or you will lose your salvation.
Gehenna/salted by fire - you don't want to be made acceptable to God by fire.
If salt loses - But if the old covenant has becomes invalid, how can things be made acceptable to God?
Have salt - Have the salt of the new covenant (love and forgiveness) in you, and be at peace with each other.
Mark 11 - Salvation = Have faith in God and forgive others to be forgiven (echoed in the parable of the measure, and maybe the little children, whom we should welcome with love and forgiveness)
Romans - Remembering the mercies (forgiveness) of God offer your bodies as a living sacrifice...acceptable to God. (sacrifices made acceptable to God how? With the salt of the new covenant = love and forgiveness)
From Ephesians - forgive as God forgave, pattern on God, follow Christ, love as he loved, make yourself into a sacrifice, sweet-smelling to God. (What makes us a sweet-smelling sacrifice? The salt of the new covenant, love and forgiveness)
From Colossians 4:6 - Your speech should be full of grace and seasoned with salt of the new covenant (love and forgiveness).
B.S. M.S. Physics
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