Far too often Christians get caught up in their surroundings and assimilate to their culture, being influenced by it instead of being the influencer.  We forget that we are strangers and aliens on this earth passing  through.  We are citizens of an eternal Kingdom of which we are to serve as ambassadors of that Kingdom to those who God has placed us among.

Charles Colson quotes the late theologian Jacques Ellul in God & Government: An Insider’s View of the Boundaries Between Faith & Politics.  Ellul summarized the duty of those who are citizens of the Kingdom who make up Christ’s Church:

The Christian who is involved in the material history of this world is involved in it as representing another order, another master (than the “prince of this world”), another claim (than that of the natural heart of man)… Thus he must plunge into the social and political problems in order to have an influence on the world, not in the hope of making it a paradise, but simply in order to make it tolerable – not in order to diminish the opposition between this world and the Kingdom of God, but simply in order to modify the opposition between the disorder of this world and the order of preservation that God wills for it – not in order to “bring in” the Kingdom of God, but in order that the gospel may be proclaimed, that all men may really hear the good news of salvation through the death and resurrection of Christ.

Ellul’s description of a Christian’s duty really defines the role that Jesus gives us as “the salt of the earth,” (Matthew 5:13).  We are to be a preservative.  We are to slow the process of decay.  We penetrate our culture in order to better proclaim the Gospel, to be the “light of the world,” (Matthew 5:16).

The Church is to have a prophetic role in society.  When we fail to do that we lose our impact.  So as Christ-followers our role isn’t simply to bide our time.  Christians have been given a ministry of reconciliation since those who follow Christ have been reconciled themselves.  Paul speaks of this to the Church at Corinth who had forgotten that.  Their culture influenced them, rather than vice versa.  They lost their prophetic voice and forgotten what their purpose in society was.  He writes:

From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.  Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.  For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God, (2 Corinthians 5:16-21, ESV).

God has entrusted us with this precious message.  He has made His followers His representatives on earth.  Do you hear the urgency in what Paul writes?  “We implore you on behalf of Christ” to be reconciled to God, (2 Corinthians 5:20).  In 2 Corinthians 6 he goes on, “Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation,” (v.2).  Do we live our lives with that type of urgency and purpose?

I struggle with this, do you?  It is easy to become lackadaisical in our walk with Christ.  It is easy to become comfortable in our Christian “bubble” and subculture that we don’t penetrate society like we should.

But this is what Christ calls us to.  We mustn’t shrink back.  We can’t pass it off.  It is our work to do.  Look for a starting point – where in your community can you as Ellul writes, “plunge yourself  into the social and political problems” in order to have influence?

15 comments
  1. “The Christian who is involved in the material history of this world is involved in it as representing another order, another master” (Elull)

    I think this is the fatal error of modern Christianity or maybe just Christianity in general. I think we need to be involved in the outcomes of our societies – in a more grassroots fashion – but we need to be involved in the well being of people around us (the physical part of that person). If we fail to do that – I am not sure we are truly helping the whole person/anyone that asks us.

    “Ellul’s description of a Christian’s duty really defines the role that Jesus gives us as “the salt of the earth,” (Matthew 5:13). We are to be a preservative. We are to slow the process of decay.”

    I think this scripture is being used wrongly. It is not about the preserving aspect of the salt at all – this is an addition to the meaning of the text.

    Matt 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again?”

    The point is concerning ‘taste’ and not ‘preservation’. The real point of this metaphor seems to be locked into the teachings preceding it (the beatitudes – which I think are the heart of the gospel). In essence, Jesus is teaching ‘be the change you want to see’ – so the salt – it cannot be useful in this manner – then what is the use of that tasteless salt? It makes no difference to the food it lands on.

    “Look for a starting point – where in your community can you as Ellul writes, “plunge yourself into the social and political problems” in order to have influence?” (Shane)

    Voting for Obama would be a start – I kid.

    SocietyVss last blog post..Christians Create a New Antagonist

  2. “The Christian who is involved in the material history of this world is involved in it as representing another order, another master” (Elull)

    I think this is the fatal error of modern Christianity or maybe just Christianity in general. I think we need to be involved in the outcomes of our societies – in a more grassroots fashion – but we need to be involved in the well being of people around us (the physical part of that person). If we fail to do that – I am not sure we are truly helping the whole person/anyone that asks us.

    “Ellul’s description of a Christian’s duty really defines the role that Jesus gives us as “the salt of the earth,” (Matthew 5:13). We are to be a preservative. We are to slow the process of decay.”

    I think this scripture is being used wrongly. It is not about the preserving aspect of the salt at all – this is an addition to the meaning of the text.

    Matt 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again?”

    The point is concerning ‘taste’ and not ‘preservation’. The real point of this metaphor seems to be locked into the teachings preceding it (the beatitudes – which I think are the heart of the gospel). In essence, Jesus is teaching ‘be the change you want to see’ – so the salt – it cannot be useful in this manner – then what is the use of that tasteless salt? It makes no difference to the food it lands on.

    “Look for a starting point – where in your community can you as Ellul writes, “plunge yourself into the social and political problems” in order to have influence?” (Shane)

    Voting for Obama would be a start – I kid.

    SocietyVss last blog post..Christians Create a New Antagonist

  3. “The Christian who is involved in the material history of this world is involved in it as representing another order, another master” (Elull)

    I think this is the fatal error of modern Christianity or maybe just Christianity in general. I think we need to be involved in the outcomes of our societies – in a more grassroots fashion – but we need to be involved in the well being of people around us (the physical part of that person). If we fail to do that – I am not sure we are truly helping the whole person/anyone that asks us.

    “Ellul’s description of a Christian’s duty really defines the role that Jesus gives us as “the salt of the earth,” (Matthew 5:13). We are to be a preservative. We are to slow the process of decay.”

    I think this scripture is being used wrongly. It is not about the preserving aspect of the salt at all – this is an addition to the meaning of the text.

    Matt 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again?”

    The point is concerning ‘taste’ and not ‘preservation’. The real point of this metaphor seems to be locked into the teachings preceding it (the beatitudes – which I think are the heart of the gospel). In essence, Jesus is teaching ‘be the change you want to see’ – so the salt – it cannot be useful in this manner – then what is the use of that tasteless salt? It makes no difference to the food it lands on.

    “Look for a starting point – where in your community can you as Ellul writes, “plunge yourself into the social and political problems” in order to have influence?” (Shane)

    Voting for Obama would be a start – I kid.

    SocietyVss last blog post..Christians Create a New Antagonist

  4. Hey Society, having studied this passage frequently and in depth – in Jesus day, salt was used more for preservation of food. It really wasn’t used so much as a condiment.

    It was also used as a material for making roads – which is what Jesus implied when those who lost their saltiness would be good for nothing but “to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.”

    It is linked to the beatitudes, and it is does presume that a believer’s life would be marked with the Kingdom values demonstrated in the Beatitudes. When Kingdom citizens live out Kingdom values they can make a Kingdom impact.

    Regarding the heart of the Gospel – I always assumed that was the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus? ;).

  5. Hey Society, having studied this passage frequently and in depth – in Jesus day, salt was used more for preservation of food. It really wasn’t used so much as a condiment.

    It was also used as a material for making roads – which is what Jesus implied when those who lost their saltiness would be good for nothing but “to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.”

    It is linked to the beatitudes, and it is does presume that a believer’s life would be marked with the Kingdom values demonstrated in the Beatitudes. When Kingdom citizens live out Kingdom values they can make a Kingdom impact.

    Regarding the heart of the Gospel – I always assumed that was the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus? ;).

  6. Hey Society, having studied this passage frequently and in depth – in Jesus day, salt was used more for preservation of food. It really wasn’t used so much as a condiment.

    It was also used as a material for making roads – which is what Jesus implied when those who lost their saltiness would be good for nothing but “to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.”

    It is linked to the beatitudes, and it is does presume that a believer’s life would be marked with the Kingdom values demonstrated in the Beatitudes. When Kingdom citizens live out Kingdom values they can make a Kingdom impact.

    Regarding the heart of the Gospel – I always assumed that was the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus? ;).

  7. “Regarding the heart of the Gospel – I always assumed that was the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus? ;).” (Shane)

    If this is so – find me one passage in Matthew that says that. That comes at the end – maybe as a climax of the story (not sure).

    The gospel means simple ‘good news’…and what was Jesus’ first words in Matthew concerning this – ‘repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’…and ‘follow me’. It’s not really laid out as to what the ‘good news’ actually is – but the beatitudes and the sermon follow these quotes by Jesus. The good news seems to be Jesus’ message – as the disciples can attest to as they do the Lord’s work also in some towns.

    SocietyVss last blog post..Christianity Creates a New Antagonist?

  8. “Regarding the heart of the Gospel – I always assumed that was the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus? ;).” (Shane)

    If this is so – find me one passage in Matthew that says that. That comes at the end – maybe as a climax of the story (not sure).

    The gospel means simple ‘good news’…and what was Jesus’ first words in Matthew concerning this – ‘repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’…and ‘follow me’. It’s not really laid out as to what the ‘good news’ actually is – but the beatitudes and the sermon follow these quotes by Jesus. The good news seems to be Jesus’ message – as the disciples can attest to as they do the Lord’s work also in some towns.

    SocietyVss last blog post..Christianity Creates a New Antagonist?

  9. “Regarding the heart of the Gospel – I always assumed that was the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus? ;).” (Shane)

    If this is so – find me one passage in Matthew that says that. That comes at the end – maybe as a climax of the story (not sure).

    The gospel means simple ‘good news’…and what was Jesus’ first words in Matthew concerning this – ‘repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’…and ‘follow me’. It’s not really laid out as to what the ‘good news’ actually is – but the beatitudes and the sermon follow these quotes by Jesus. The good news seems to be Jesus’ message – as the disciples can attest to as they do the Lord’s work also in some towns.

    SocietyVss last blog post..Christianity Creates a New Antagonist?

  10. “Hey Society, having studied this passage frequently and in depth – in Jesus day, salt was used more for preservation of food. It really wasn’t used so much as a condiment.” (Shane)

    Matt 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again?”

    I just thought about this and the way the author is using ‘salt’ in Matt 5:13 is regarding ‘taste’. It’s after that – if it becomes useless – it gets thrown out (maybe used as a preservative in roads).

    The true point of that passage has to be about how salt is used for people to make their food develop ‘taste’. If it becomes unflavored then it gets thrown out.

    The inference is about taste and not very many other uses of the ingredient. Same with the light analogy – which is about how turning a light on helps you to ‘see’. Nevermind that a light can also serve as a mini-heating instrument – that is not the point of the passage.

    So for me, the ‘taste’ is key. The flavor of one’s life is truly the essence of the person. It can be a useful life – it can be something not so useful – in the role we play in society. This is where the teachings play a huge role (the beatitudes).

    SocietyVss last blog post..Christianity Creates a New Antagonist?

  11. “Hey Society, having studied this passage frequently and in depth – in Jesus day, salt was used more for preservation of food. It really wasn’t used so much as a condiment.” (Shane)

    Matt 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again?”

    I just thought about this and the way the author is using ‘salt’ in Matt 5:13 is regarding ‘taste’. It’s after that – if it becomes useless – it gets thrown out (maybe used as a preservative in roads).

    The true point of that passage has to be about how salt is used for people to make their food develop ‘taste’. If it becomes unflavored then it gets thrown out.

    The inference is about taste and not very many other uses of the ingredient. Same with the light analogy – which is about how turning a light on helps you to ‘see’. Nevermind that a light can also serve as a mini-heating instrument – that is not the point of the passage.

    So for me, the ‘taste’ is key. The flavor of one’s life is truly the essence of the person. It can be a useful life – it can be something not so useful – in the role we play in society. This is where the teachings play a huge role (the beatitudes).

    SocietyVss last blog post..Christianity Creates a New Antagonist?

  12. “Hey Society, having studied this passage frequently and in depth – in Jesus day, salt was used more for preservation of food. It really wasn’t used so much as a condiment.” (Shane)

    Matt 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again?”

    I just thought about this and the way the author is using ‘salt’ in Matt 5:13 is regarding ‘taste’. It’s after that – if it becomes useless – it gets thrown out (maybe used as a preservative in roads).

    The true point of that passage has to be about how salt is used for people to make their food develop ‘taste’. If it becomes unflavored then it gets thrown out.

    The inference is about taste and not very many other uses of the ingredient. Same with the light analogy – which is about how turning a light on helps you to ‘see’. Nevermind that a light can also serve as a mini-heating instrument – that is not the point of the passage.

    So for me, the ‘taste’ is key. The flavor of one’s life is truly the essence of the person. It can be a useful life – it can be something not so useful – in the role we play in society. This is where the teachings play a huge role (the beatitudes).

    SocietyVss last blog post..Christianity Creates a New Antagonist?

  13. This article is right on point. Far too often we as Christians are trying to conform to fit in with the world rather then being a light and trendsetter to the world concerning worldview thinking in relation to our Christianity. I speak to many of these issues myself at
    http://evangelizetheyouth.com/

  14. This article is right on point. Far too often we as Christians are trying to conform to fit in with the world rather then being a light and trendsetter to the world concerning worldview thinking in relation to our Christianity. I speak to many of these issues myself at
    http://evangelizetheyouth.com/

  15. This article is right on point. Far too often we as Christians are trying to conform to fit in with the world rather then being a light and trendsetter to the world concerning worldview thinking in relation to our Christianity. I speak to many of these issues myself at
    http://evangelizetheyouth.com/

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