In the fifth chapter of Matthew, during His Sermon on the Mount, we find the Lord Jesus Christ giving us the principles and precepts that govern His kingdom. In verses 13 to 16 we read the following:
"You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste—its strength, its quality—how can its saltiness be restored? It is not good for anything any longer but to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a peck-measure but on a lamp stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your moral excellence and your praiseworthy, noble and good deeds, and recognize and honor and praise and glorify your Father Who is in heaven" (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible Commentary).
He tells us here that as children of the kingdom we are to be "salt" and "light"—Both of which represent characteristics that are intended to exert a profound influence upon unregenerate people. Salt of course is a preservative and in those days, before the invention of refrigeration, was used to keep meat and fish from spoiling. Spiritually speaking, it represents what we might call the "static" or mundane daily life of the Spirit-filled Christian—that which is felt or perceived by others through our interaction with them. The term "static" means unmoving and the Word of God teaches us to be unmovable (1 Cor.15:58). We are taught in Ephesians chapter six and verse 13 that we are to use the "whole armor of God" in order to withstand evil—and then, after we have "done all, to stand". In other words, after we make use of God’s spiritual armor in fighting off the enemy, we must not move! Any spiritual territory—any gains we have achieved in our daily warfare against the world, the flesh, and the devil, must be held at all costs—because if we retreat even an inch, the devil’s crowd will immediately occupy that inch! God wants all of us to be "salty" Christians and stand our ground, thereby acting as a preserving influence upon the world around us. The steady and dramatic gains made by the ungodly during the past several years should be a "wake-up call" for us, because they are now occupying territory we once held. God has not moved—we did!
Next we see that the analogy of light represents the "dynamic" or outgoing aspect of our lives—that which "moves" and works and is seen by others. Are we taught to "let our light shine", in order that men may see our good works and brag on us? Do these works help in any way to procure salvation? No, our good works—those done in the power of the Holy Spirit—are intended to bring honor and glory to Jesus Christ. But our wonderful and gracious God rewards us for our faithfulness, both in this life and in the life to come. In the Spirit-filled life, both salt and light work together through Christians for the betterment of society. Please note that I refer to the "Spirit-filled" Christian as possessing these characteristics. The Holy Spirit exerts His influence upon those around us when we yield ourselves and become obedient to His leadership. The reason why the Lord referred to salt losing its "savor", or "saltiness"—and thereby becoming useless—is to impress upon us the possibility of our becoming disobedient and "quenching" (1 Thess.5:19) the Holy Spirit. All of us need to understand that there is a vast difference between being born of the Spirit and being filled with the Spirit. We receive the Holy Spirit to indwell us at our spiritual rebirth—the very moment of salvation, but in order to be filled with the Spirit we must die to self! Our sinful flesh (self) is an abhorrent thing to God and is condemned throughout Scripture. As we continue to mature in the faith and "crucify the flesh"(put it to death), we are potentially filled with the Holy Spirit only to the degree that we rid ourselves of self. Our sinful flesh and the Holy Spirit are mutually exclusive.
To expect Him to fill us and use us when we are actively pursuing our own agenda, is totally unrealistic.
God works His sovereign will through the lives of His people. His Holy Spirit continues to provide a moral restraint—a "preservative and preventive" influence—over the masses of mankind by virtue of His presence within His saints. The scope of that restraining influence has been, and still is, dependent upon the degree of practical holiness maintained by His people. Society has always seemed to suffer more from the ravages of sin, when God’s people desperately need revival. Such is the case at this hour.
During the last several years I have noticed that Christian bookstores have been awash with numerous new titles having political overtones. The common theme seems to be an urgent plea for "someone to do something" where our nation is concerned. Each of these books rightly point out, in one way or another, "we the people" are rapidly becoming in danger of losing our precious freedoms—rights that cost the lives of many others to win and protect. When we read the thoughts of those authors and the plain facts of the situation, every patriotic and spiritual fiber in our being wants to agree with them! Preachers across the land have been urging their congregations to "get involved" and thousands have answered the call by organizing into political action committees, working the phones for various conservative causes, plus a host of other related activities. Others have been so incensed by the murder of unborn infants that they are walking picket lines protesting abortion clinics and doctors. Millions upon millions of dollars have been collected and spent—millions of votes have been cast—political careers have come and gone and yet the decline is accelerating rapidly. In utter frustration, many of those who have been sounding the alarms are now making statements like: "Most Christians worship the ground their head is buried in" and "Silence is not golden, it’s just plain yellow." While I understand the frustration and the agony of watching helplessly as something precious slips away, I must disagree completely with their conclusions as to the basic nature of the problem. Those authors and politicians who style themselves as "Christian patriots" universally see the lack of political involvement by Christians as practically tantamount to surrender to the forces of evil. Their reasoning is that our government is becoming more restrictive and less tolerant of Christian values—our so-called "Christian heritage". Therefore Christians must organize and take back the leadership of our country to save it from the hands of wicked men.
When the average Christian is confronted with this kind of logic, most have a "knee-jerk" reaction to it and take the attitude of "they can’t do that to us!" My reply is, "Why not?" It has been done since the dawn of civilization and will no doubt continue! Why should we think that we are any different? Look at those pitiful people in Kosovo—just a few short days ago they were happy and contented and life continued as it had for centuries. Suddenly they were violently deprived of everything they held dear and forced to leave it. Do you suppose that their lack of involvement in politics had anything to do with it? Get real! Wickedness in high places is responsible for their plight, just as wickedness is the root cause of our problems. Those who quote the oft-repeated line of, "All that is necessary for tyranny to abound is for good men to do nothing" fail to understand the implications of that word "good". The Word of God says in Romans 3:10-12:
"As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one" (KJV).
Another factor that is being consistently overlooked is expressed in the Book of Proverbs:
"The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will" (Proverbs 21:1, KJV).
God is very much in control of the situation and it is not left up to us. We are however, facing this predicament because of our collective failure to properly exhibit the essential characteristics of our faith in Christ. It may surprise you to learn that the New Testament nowhere gives us a mandate to manipulate the attitudes and actions of the world around us. No, our sole duty is to act as "salt and light," exposing people to the influence of the Holy Spirit as we go about our daily lives. The late Dr. J. Vernon McGee, for many years the host of "Through the Bible" radio programs, made a statement one time that sounds simple, but it is actually profound. He said, "God never told the children of Israel to plant flowers in the wilderness." This world is a wicked place and its people are under the control of Satan—why do we insist upon laboring under the false assumption that we can beautify it or clean it up? Those who try are only accomplishing one thing: they are prompting and promoting the ill will of people who are spiritually dead. As evidenced by editorials and other articles in the media, they see our well-intentioned efforts as nothing more than an attempt to force our value system upon them. And if we take a long and objective look at the situation, we will be forced to agree that they are in fact correct!
Another statement the Lord made during the Sermon on the Mount, is found in chapter 5 and verse 39:
"But I say to you, Do not resist the evil man [who injures you]; but if any one strikes you on the right jaw or cheek, turn to him the other one too" (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible Commentary).
Why would the Lord tell His "soldiers" not to fight back? Doesn’t He know that we are in a battle and battles involve fighting? Aha, we finally arrive at the answer to our problem—we are fighting a spiritual battle and not a physical one! Our flesh—our human nature—that is not eradicated when we are saved, is prompting this reaction to what we see going on around us. The slippage of our Christian heritage and freedoms is heartbreaking, but we have nobody to blame but ourselves. Slowly but surely we have failed to be the salt and light we should have been and trying to correct the problem by political and social means is an exercise in futility. Only God can solve spiritual problems and historically He has used revival among His people to stop their backsliding. The thing we must do is to pray for heaven-sent, Holy Ghost revival. If God does not see fit to send it to us and thereby supply the spiritual power necessary to correct the downward slide of our nation, the United States of America is doomed.
In Ephesians chapter six, Paul explains to us the particulars of our warfare. Beginning in verse 11 he says:
"Put on God’s whole armor—the armor of a heavy-armed soldier, which God supplies—that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil. For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood—contending only with physical opponents—but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere. Therefore put on God’s complete armor that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place]" (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible Commentary).
From this we should learn beyond all doubt that our struggle is one in which supernatural forces are at work. The real enemy is not those humans who disagree with us and are hostile toward our beliefs—their master Satan and his demons have that distinction. If you doubt this assessment, look with me at Ephesians 2:1 and 2:
"And you [He made alive], when you were dead [slain] by [your] trespasses and sins. In which at one time you walked habitually. You were following the course and fashion of this world—were under the sway of the tendency of this present age—following the prince of the power of the air. (You were obedient to him and were under his control,) the [demon] spirit that still constantly works in the sons of disobedience—the careless, the rebellious and the unbelieving, who go against the purposes of God" (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible Commentary).
The "prince of the power of the air" refers, of course, to Satan—"the demon spirit"—that still constantly works in the "sons of disobedience"—the unsaved masses of the world.
So the next time you get upset by "the way things are", try to remember that you have absolutely zero chance of correcting the problem by attempting to interact with spiritually dead people! Not only are they totally incapable of understanding "where you are coming from", let’s face it—they are the overwhelming majority! To ignore these hard Scriptural facts is to butt your head against a brick wall. Oh, you might win a battle here and there, but you will eventually lose the war. A case in point involves the eighteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Christians marshaled their forces behind the prohibition of the legal sale of beverage alcohol. When congress passed this amendment and the necessary votes to ratify it were obtained, it was heralded as a great triumph for Christian values. Using political means to ensure godly principles was seen as the wave of the future. However, just sixteen years later the amendment was overturned and booze came back stronger than ever! Battles were won, but the war was lost. Repugnant as it may be to face, those who are fighting the abortion crowd will probably meet a similar fate. We are not wrestling with flesh and blood (Eph.6:12) and the "weapons of our warfare are not carnal…" (2 Cor.10:4, KJV). Those Christians who continue to insist that we "do something", need to come to the proper understanding of what we must do: The challenge must go forth to God’s people to pray as never before that God will give us the power to BE something—salt and light! Attempting to fight the devil with the puny resources of man’s reasoning is to invite spiritual disaster and makes about as much sense as hunting elephants with a plastic fork!
The apostle Paul tells us that the "weapons of our warfare are not carnal…" (2 Cor.10:4[a], KJV). If you know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, you have the world’s greatest weapons at your disposal. Do you know what they are? The Word of God and prayer! If we employ these spiritual weapons against the enemy, God will be pleased. Because in doing so, we show that our faith is in Him and His ability to change things—not in our own misguided efforts. Each one of us ought to pray daily that God will make us the salt and light that our nation and world desperately needs. Then, and only then, will we make a lasting difference
If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, but have been very lukewarm in your spiritual walk with Him, you need to immediately ask Him for forgiveness and for renewal. He will instantly forgive you, and fill your heart with the joy of the Holy Spirit. Then, you need to begin a daily walk of prayer and personal Bible Study.
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as Savior, but have come to realize His reality and the approaching End of the Age, and want to accept His FREE Gift of Eternal Life, you can also do so now, in the privacy of your home. Once you accept Him as Savior, you are spiritually Born Again, and are as assured of Heaven as if you were already there. Then, you can rest assured that the Kingdom of Antichrist will not touch you spiritually. If you would like to become Born Again, turn to our Salvation Page now.
We hope you have been blessed by this ministry, which seeks to educate and warn people, so that they can see the coming New World Order—Kingdom of Antichrist—in their daily news.
Return to Pastoral Articles index
Finally, we would love to hear from you. You can write us at:
Cutting Edge Ministries, C/O Pastor Ron Riffe
P.O. Box 26
Gordo, AL 35466
You can also E-Mail Pastor Ronald Riffe regarding questions or comments about this article.
God bless you.