Salt and Light: If Not Us, Who?

12 Apr
A New Day Dawning photo by Charles Huff

A New Day Dawning
photo by Charles Huff

God’s Standard Lifted Up

“When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD will lift up a standard against him.” This we find in the often-quoted passage Isaiah 59:19. I think all Christians familiar with this verse believe Isaiah prophesied about the coming Messiah who would be called Jesus. Paul wrote in his letter to the Corinthians that events recorded in the Old Testament passages are written for our example, often serving as types and shadows of things to come. In other words, the historical account has a spiritual (and sometimes a future physical) application running parallel with the earlier event. Prophesies often have this dual nature, as well.

Jesus spoke of a people whom He called salt and light for the earth. Such a people group would fulfill Isaiah’s lifted-up standard as did Jesus the Messiah. This blog series will look into other passages I believe indicate exactly who that will be.  We will be touching on the words of Jesus and the writings of Paul for the most part as we will see God’s blueprint and design for them.

Jesus the Standard and Passing the Torch

During His three-year ministry on earth Jesus pointed out the difference between mankind’s selfish application of the Law and God’s original intent. His closest disciples began to pattern their lives and ministry around what they observed in Him. After His ascension, they carried on His work and turned the world upside down. Through this the Church grew. (As a note, I use Church to refer to the body of believers fulfilling the Lord’s design, the Church as He sees it in His mind. The lowercase spelling (church) refers to the current physical expression of believers.)

Paul described the Church as a many-membered body—a corporate man—with Jesus as the head. The Church, in God’s design, acts with one heart, being in the unity of the Spirit. The church is crippled in its expression of God’s design when we say Jesus is the only man who ever lived without sin. But Jesus said we, too, are to be perfect even as His Father is perfect. In Paul’s letters we see him describe Jesus actively loving, correcting, cleansing His Church in order to present her to Himself as a bride without spot or wrinkle—perfect, in perfect harmony with Him.

Paul also calls us ambassadors of the Lord’s kingdom. When we consider our United States ambassadors, we know they have full authority and total responsibility to accurately represent our nation and will to other nations. As ambassadors for the kingdom, Christians have the authority and total responsibility to show the Father’s kingdom, heart and will to the world. Whether we look at the corporate body or our ambassador role, the Church by God’s design is to be the standard lifted up (the salt and light) in the last days. A corporate Christ—one faith, one body, one Lord—with Jesus truly as its head.

How Close Do We Come?

In its current state of divisions caused by human whims, the church does not nor can it fulfill that role. Men must give up their control of the Church and let Jesus be the functioning head of the body. Through vanity, willfulness, and a desire to control; walls of separation have been built between churches, thereby prohibiting the Church from coming forth. It existed a short time in the first century before apostasy and false teachings invaded it.

We can try building unity through developing understanding of one another and compromising, but man can create only a level of harmony. Such action can never result in the Church being in the state of one accord as we see in the early church in the book of Acts. Rather, only through a deep work within the hearts of men and women by the Holy Spirit can such unity be formed. While it is the work of the Holy Spirit, the church is not free of responsibility. The church—corporately and individually—must be abiding in him, abiding in the vine, grafted in, walking in the way. For there to be a corporate body again, the walls of separation caused by the misdirection of man must be destroyed.

Start by Correcting This Fundamental Error

The current church condition stems, in part, from the preaching of a wrong message. We are instructed to preach the gospel of the kingdom. But since Martin Luther, the message has been the gospel of salvation. A basic tenet within the gospel of salvation embraces the concept that once you are saved, you have it all. It is a precious non-voidable gift. However, Jesus told Nicodemus salvation opened the door to the kingdom. Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’” (John 3:3) The word “see” means “see.” Salvation is the threshold. From that position one can see into the kingdom. Jesus’ message and the apostles after Him pointed to living in the kingdom.

Jesus emphasized in Matthew 24 the end will come after this gospel of the kingdom is preached throughout the world. This is not a play on words for me. This is a call for the church to be more than sinners saved by grace. We are to conform to His image, to His architectural plan for the church being built with the living stones of man. We are to be kingdom people living in the power of His resurrection. We should go through our daily lives with the power that raised Him, knowing that we have been raised from the dead with Him—lifted above the curse of sin.

We think that by confessing we are only human and cannot be perfect we are given a free pass on fulfilling God’s purpose. On the contrary, Jesus said we should be perfect even as our Father in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48). Jesus also said He would tell some who claim to have done awesome deeds—even miraculous works—in His name that He never knew them (Matthew 7:21-23). Jesus saw power, righteousness and a relationship within His church not being fulfilled and gave us clear warning.

Jesus Gave Us a Roadmap

DSC_0365captioned

Photo by Charles Huff

In Matthew 5:13-16 Jesus makes it evident He expects a very sharp distinction between the church and the world. By saying, “You are the salt of the earth;” (verse 13a) and “You are the light of the world,” (verse 14a); Jesus indicates a people who are far different from the crowd. His unique description drives me to know three things: Whom does He call salt and light?  What could He have meant in His choice of metaphors? In what ways are the salt and light people different? Peter describes how the world we live in will be destroyed with an intense heat. He then affirmed its certainty and asked “what manner of persons ought we to be?” Jesus gave us seven points He looks for. When we can live the lifestyle Jesus calls salt and light, we will have the answer to Peter’s probing and unsettling question.

One Response to “Salt and Light: If Not Us, Who?”

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  1. America in Bible Prophesy | Boosterclub Blog -

    […] fire; Burning fire on the altar of worship; The seventh glorious fire. Jesus’s blueprint blogs: Salt and light: if not us, who?; Broken People: God’s most treasured ones; Christ’s demand for a church that mourns; Happiness […]

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