Last week, we discussed the importance of not compromising Christian teaching and character. Salt is only good if it remains salt. Christians must in some ways maintain distance from the world and its pursuits. If Christians fail to be detached, then they will become corrupted, and therefore worthless.
Nevertheless, Christians must also be an example to the world in their community, the church. And to this point, Jesus said:
14) “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15) Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16) 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.”
It is imperative at the outset to guard against incorrect interpretations of this passage.
Many churchians of the modern world have interpreted this passage as if this passage about salt did not immediately precede. The freely associate with non-Christians telling themselves that they are trying to influence the unbelievers toward a state of faith. But what usually happens instead is that the salt loses its saltiness. The churchian’s ethos then becomes part worldly and part Christian, which is good for nothing but to be trampled underfoot by men. That is assuming they do not lose their faith altogether.
Clearly, also, Jesus is not instructing his disciples to flaunt their good deeds. He makes this expressly clear in the very next chapter by telling his followers to not give, pray, or fast so that anyone else knows that they are doing it.
As John would say later, Christians are to be in the world but not of it. Their presence is to be felt by the world, but not the impact is not reciprocal. The church is not to be hidden. It is meant to be at the very heart of civilization, and yet, distinct from it.
This might be also a passage to warn against occult practices. No, not in the form of doctrine, but in practice. Christians are not to be secretive with their beliefs nor deceitful towards outsiders in how they live. Nor is the Church is to move to some isolated location as some cults do. A certain amount of privacy is fine, but many cults isolate for the purpose of secrecy, which is a completely different motive altogether.
Taking the whole salt and light passage together, Christians must maintain their holiness by not associating with the godless while simultaneously being an example to them.
As Christian civilization has slowly eroded over the past few centuries, Christians themselves have let their guard down. It has been appropriate for some time now to regard ourselves as minorities. Christianity needs to become insular once again. We need a lot less “Just go out into the world and share the love of Jesus” and other such notions found nowhere in scripture, and a bit more inter-church focus. The church should be viciously guarding itself from the outside corrupting influences found in public schools, movies, the media, and the heathens who are in the majority. The church must begin taking care of its own once again and having the discipline to create a distinct culture right in the middle of the decadent culture that is currently burning to the ground. And as the corrupt world passes away, the distinct Christian culture will be a light to the world, a city set on the hill, once again.
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