Published May 15, 2012
Christ tells us in Matthew 5:13-14 that we Christians are to be the "salt" and "light" of the world. But too many Christians today are pretty dim, light-wise, and they're even losing their value as "salt" (v. 13). (More about that below.)
Recently I came across an interesting article which addresses the issue of why this is all happening and why God is, at least so far, withholding His inevitable judgment. This guest column, in the form of a book review, comes from Heidi Swander of Olive Tree Ministries.*
by Heidi Swander*
"The motivation for Christians working to delay the coming collapse of our nation is not to preserve our way of life, but to buy more time to share the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as possible before America is swept away by God's judgment."
Read that again. That statement by Pastor Robert Jeffress in his book, "Twilight's Last Gleaming: How America's Last Days Can Be Your Best Days," revolutionized my thinking on the important matter of actively affecting the culture around us during these days of moral decline.
As we catapult toward this fall's coming election, the debate will grow more heated. "Many Christians equate efforts to stop the murder of the unborn, uphold the biblical principles of morality and elect godly leaders with rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. If we are going down anyway, why bother?' people wonder." Pastor Jeffress isn't at all sure about that way of thinking.
"I have a different perspective today," Jeffress says. "While our responsibility to delay our culture's decay is not our primary mission here on earth, it is a necessary prerequisite if we are to fulfill our ultimate calling of pointing people to Jesus Christ."
If the purpose of standing up against abortion or battling the incessant encroachment of homosexuality or trying to bring our culture back from the brink of all-out socialism is simply "a better America," then that does nothing to inspire me. I would have to throw my hat in the ring with those who say, "Let the ship sink." But if the rationale behind running for office or fighting to put people of principle in positions of leadership or working to defeat an ungodly congressional bill is the eternal goal of "redeeming the time" in order to provide ample opportunity for as many souls as possible to come to eternal life, that is a goal I can thoroughly stand behind! [See 2 Peter 3:9.]
And then Jeffress poses this question: "How do you balance your primary calling to share the gospel with the calling to stand up against ungodliness in our nation?" That was the premise for the book. It's more than a fair question and it's one that demands an answer from each of us.
He talks about being salt and light in our world as Jesus admonishes us. "Most Evangelical Christians understand (even if they don't obey) the mandate to serve as lights in this dark world, pointing people to Christ's offer of salvation to all who believe. But I have discovered that many Christians do not comprehend Jesus' command to delay the decay of our culture by acting as salt in the world." [Salt, of course, has long been used as a preservative.]
As a result, Jeffress says, "We become tasteless salt and a diminished light." And he warns, "When Christians lose their motivation to be restrainers of evil, it is only a matter of time until society crumbles under the weight of its own sin." That observation reminds me of Paul's teaching about the Holy Spirit restraining evil through the vessels He indwells (us), and our understanding that once we are taken Home all hell will, quite literally, break loose. We must not abdicate our responsibility in advance.
Let's get practical. How does this book's premise relate to this fall's election and our responsibility to participate in it? At the very least it means we should plan to vote. I have heard some opine that they won't even vote this time around. I remember reading an article by a fairly well-known Christian editor who actually suggested that the last time around. I don't know how many took heed to his advice, but you can clearly see that the results were not advantageous to the cause of the gospel.
Additionally, we must be informed when we vote. That means we must know as much as we can about the individuals we are voting for and the issues that will be on the ballot so that we make a well-informed decision. That is the kind of voting that will honor our Father and will, if God chooses, allow more time for souls to come to Jesus.
That's just one example. It certainly doesn't stand alone. But if we, as children of God, take seriously Jesus' mandate to be salt and light in every area of our life, you can see how it could affect the culture we live in and provide more time for the lost to be drawn to the Savior.
"Sometimes God judges without delay," Pastor Jeffress writes. "However, other times there is a delay between explosive choices a society makes and the natural collapse that comes from removing the spiritual and moral support structures of a society, just as there is with an implosion.
"You and I are living in that pause in history between explosion and implosion," he says. "Our future hope is that the coming darkness that will engulf America and every other nation in the world will be followed by the dawn of Christ's return, when He will establish a new heaven and a new earth. But until that time, God has left us on earth during these twilight years for a very specific purpose."
*Heidi Swander is Executive Assistant to author and radio host Jan Markell of Olive Tree Ministries, an end-times ministry in Maple Grove, MN. More info about them (including signup for a free newsletter) can be found at http://www.olivetreeviews.org/. Column used by permission.
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