Jesus told his disciples, "You are the salt of the earth” and "You are the light of the world” (Matt. 5:13, 14). You should include yourself in the “you” of this passage because Jesus was speaking not only to His disciples then but to all “those who will believe in me through their word” (John 17:20).
The church is to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. You are called by Jesus to be light and salt to a dark and decomposing world. The light is for the world to enable it to see clearly the glory of God. The salt is the preserving nature of God keeping the decay of sin from prevailing. If you are a follower of Christ you were placed in society to carry God’s light and be a preserving influence in society. Paul told us that “the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (Rom. 8:21). The word “corruption” is decay or decomposition. All of creation and the world connected to it are decaying or decomposing and its freedom is connected to the children of God. Even today we are the salt that preserves creation, keeping it from decay.
Just as light penetrates and dispels darkness you are here to dispel darkness around you through the life Christ lives in you. Just as salt is scattered throughout food to preserve and give taste, we are scattered and placed by the Lord to be a preserving presence in the world. Yes, the world is going to hell in a hand basket, so to speak, but while we are here it is kept from total darkness and total cultural decomposition.
Europe was the site of the Renaissance, the rebirth of human society, and the Reformation, the beginning of the rebirth of genuine Christianity. Through these two great movements, the foundational ideas came forth that set the stage for the birth of a nation founded on the godly principles of Christ and His word. A nation was founded on the Bible and the divine ideas that are light and salt to the world.
I have covered this at length in a previous book Education Revolution, which clearly make the case that our founders knew that they were founding a nation on divine principles. Thomas Jefferson expressed this fact in the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” This idea that God provides us with our rights was completely embedded into the Constitution and the first actions of our nation.
One of the signers of the Constitution, Benjamin Rush, agreed when defining religion as they saw it in those days: “But the religion I mean to recommend in this place is the that of the New Testament…All its doctrines and precepts are calculated to promote the happiness of society and the safety and well-being of civil government.”
Thomas Jefferson, the man many accuse of being a deist, declared, “The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were . . . . the general principles of Christianity . . . . Now I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.”
I could go on and on for pages citing founders of this nation who agreed with Jefferson’s statement. You will have to do the research for yourself, and if you do you will find that the early framers of our Constitution believed that the United States was a Christian nation in the sense that it was founded on the principles of the Bible and its truths. Secularists have cherry picked a few verses out of context to try to make their case that the founders had no Christian aspirations but the evidence to the contrary is overwhelming.
The foundation of our faith is God’s word as expressed in the Bible. In other words the church has a constitution and it is the Bible. Our faith is founded on God’s word. Jesus told us that His word, properly obeyed, is the foundation upon which our lives are to be built (Matt. 7:25-27). He told the disciples, speaking of revelation from the Father: “on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). In other words, what God says, His word, is the rock upon which Christ builds His church, which is God’s people in fellowship with Him.
The founders of the country believed they were founding the country and framing the Constitution on the basis of divine principles revealed in the Christian Bible. The great document reflects that through and through. I recommend the book Original Intent by David Barton, which proves this so thoroughly that no honest person can question it.
As long as Christians stood on God’s word and lived accordingly, their lives would be blessed. As long as the nation lived by its founding document the nation would be blessed. We are the salt of this earth, the light of the world. To the extent that Christians maintained their stance on God’s word, we as a nation reaped its blessings.
On the other hand, when the church began to waver in its stance concerning the Bible, the nation began to weaken and crack and begin to crumble. As we hedged on our founding document the nation began to hedge on theirs and the results are the same—gradual decline in spiritual life and power. Because the church failed to hold fast to its foundation, a nation did the same and began to crumble.
Modern liberals have changed the way the Constitution is interpreted. Since secularists began to take over our courts they began to accept the concept of relativism. Relativism is expressed by John Dewey, the supposed father of modern education: “The belief in political fixity, of the sanctity of some form of state consecrated by the efforts of our fathers and hallowed by tradition, is one of the stumbling blocks in the way of orderly and directed change.” Dewey, an atheist, believed that our Constitution should be interpreted according to modern understandings rather than on its original meaning and intent. The “directed change” he spoke of is change controlled by modern ideas not in line with the original intent of the founders who were virtually all followers of Christ.
So, the courts began to direct change. Many secular judges contributed to this change but Earl Warren, the chief justice of the court during the formative 50’s and 60’s expressed his opinion on this “directed change.” Speaking of the First Amendment, he wrote, “The Amendment must draw its meaning from the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society.” In other words, decisions were to be made not by consulting the Constitution to see what it said in the light of its original intent, but on the currently held standards of decency.
During his tenure as Chief Justice prayer in schools became unconstitutional (1963), Bible reading in schools became unconstitutional (1963), religious speech by students and teachers became unconstitutional (1965), students could not pray out loud (1965), the theory of evolution became the accepted world view (1968), a school board could no longer refer to God in its official writings (1976), and much more. The principle of interpretation moved from what the Constitution says to the “evolving standards of decency.” In other words, whatever was considered decent or not decent by society at the time determined how the courts would rule.
This is how abortion on demand became legal throughout the land. This is how one man in black in a 5-4 vote could rule that marriage can be between two people of the same sex or the president could force a health care system on all the states. This is how Dewey’s “directed change” materialized across the country. This is how Obama has been able to “fundamentally change America.”
But we Christians have no one to blame but ourselves. Many approach the Bible the way the secular judges approach the Constitution. We have stretched its words to mean what we want them to mean. Instead of appealing to the original intent of the Bible we have interpreted it according to the current evolving social standards. So, we are getting what we asked for—a life of compromise devoid of miracles and the power of God.
We interpret it the Old Testament miracles to be simple analogies and metaphors but not literal historical events. We accept from the New Testament what is convenient for our lives and reject anything that really challenges our lives or calls us to a higher life in Christ. We stopped believing in miracles because our scientists say they can’t happen. We’ve accepted an Americanized form of Christianity devoid of the supernatural life and power of God. As a result, the church is a mere religious business and Christ is on the outside looking in.
We lack spiritual vision and so we are like scattered sheep wandering aimlessly and feeding on old trampled down grass and drinking stale, putrid water. The Proverb says, “Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law” (29:18). Where people lack vision they have no guidance and are lost, scattered and without direction and purpose. That’s the condition of the church in America. It does not see God’s eternal purpose which is received by spiritual revelation.
We don’t see it because we don’t seek it. Without God’s direction we are doing things in the flesh according to human ingenuity and ability. The result is something man has built, not what God wants to build. He wants to build His church, His bride, the body of Christ. It is a spiritual organism not an organization man can construct. We need to take our hands off of it, open to Him, and let Him lead us into His perfect will.
We stopped being salt and light and started being a big religious program. Instead of living holy lives in consecration to God and in fellowship with one another, we have lived empty lives of rules, ritual, tradition and religion. Instead of shepherds leading the flock, CEO’s took over the business of religion. We built our little kingdoms while neglecting the kingdom of God. We went to church instead of being the church, the spiritual salt and light to the world. We were given the keys of the kingdom but we traded them in for the keys to human success and prosperity. The result is a compromised, lifeless replica of the church that looks and sounds like the real thing but lacks the love, unity and power of the church Christ is building.
I know that there are many faithful who are reading this message. You have sought Him with all your heart. But, you are dissatisfied. Something is missing and you know it. This is God’s seal of approval on what you are doing. God will accomplish this through a remnant of faithful who grow tired of man’s way and choose to repent and turn back to God. Then, we will begin to see wonderful results as the Holy Spirit leads and empowers us in the midst of a world sliding down the slippery slope of rebellion.
Let me close with this word from God: “if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chron. 7:14).
We may be way past the time when our land can be totally healed, but healing can come to a remnant of faithful if we return to God. God tells us here in these words to King Solomon that we must humble ourselves before Him. To humble ourselves means to repent from our rejection of His will. Once we have humbled ourselves we are qualified to pray effective prayer. Before we humble ourselves, our prayer is selfish and disconnected from God’s will. In humility we put aside our will and come to Him to see what He desires. Once we pray in His will, we are free to seek His face, His presence. His presence makes all the difference. If He is not in it, we are wasting our time.
When we truly begin to see His face, to truly dwell in His presence, we will repent and turn from our wicked ways. Our ways are wicked when they do not line up with His will. All that flows from our carnal, fallen hearts is wicked, and our actions are “wicked ways.” If we are able to repent in this way and return to God, He will hear our prayers and begin the forgiving, healing process for our lives and our land.
I do not believe that the whole church will do this. It will be a faithful remnant of overcomers who sincerely seek God and His eternal purpose. I want to be part of that remnant and encourage others as well. Let the process begin. May God bless your journey into the fulness of His will.