Tea or Salt

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A relatively new phenomenon is sweeping across the political landscape of the united States. It is called the Tea Party Movement. This populist movement emerged to protest the bailouts and the stimulus package that the federal government passed in an effort to revive the declining economy. This movement generally supports constitutionally limited government, fiscal responsibility, and free markets.

Tens of thousands of patriotic demonstrators waving American flags (and other signs) have attended rallies called Tea Parties in many of the big cities around the country, including Washington D. C. They listen to and rally around orators and politicians who decry and condemn the policies of the current president and his administration. This movement has gained so much political momentum that the pundits are anxiously watching to see if the Tea Party Movement will significantly influence the 2010 fall elections.

While the Tea Party Movement seems to center around the secular subject of fiscal responsibility, it appears that many nominal Christians are also concerned and have joined this new movement.

Consider these questions: May a Christian join a movement to protest for a good cause? Should the people of God rally against war, abortion, social injustice, etc? Jesus clearly taught in the Sermon on the Mount that “ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted?” Salt speaks of influence. Jesus’ teaching implies that His followers must positively influence the society around them. Is a Tea Party rally a proper way to do this? What do the Scriptures teach ?

Christians are the salt of the earth when they faithfully preach the Gospel to all whom they meet. “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observeall things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matt 28:19-20).

Here Jesus gives us clear direction regarding the manner bywhich we, as Christians, influence the world; we preach and teach the way of righteousness. We must preach salvation to the sinner, baptize the converted, and teach “all things” that Jesus commands to every disciple. The influence of the saving power of Jesus Christ supersedes the power that any political movement may produce!

Christians are the salt of the earth when they exemplify an honest life, full of good works.“Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1Pe 2:12).

A Christian of irreproachable, Christ-like character projects another powerfully positive influence towards those with whom he interacts. The “salt” of a righteous life ultimately causes the “Gentile” to glorify God.

We, as Christians, must, first of all, live a Spirit-filled life to achieve this high level of Christ-like character. Then and onlythen, will we portray the virtues of righteousness to others. The impeccable honesty of a Christian farmer, the irreproachable morality of a young Christian laborer, the submissive, virtuous modesty of a Christian wife and mother, and the careful considerate language of a Christian employer will graciously “flavor” the sordid society around us.

Christians are the salt of the earth when they intercede for those around them. “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (1Tim 2:1-2). “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (Ja 5:16). “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (Mark 11:24).

Prayer represents another powerful influence that a Christian is commanded to exercise. The potential of the power of prayer to influence the world, profoundly eclipses political activism.

Peter says in 1Peter 3:12, “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.” These verses teach us that the Lord recognizes the righteous and hears their prayers. The second part of the verse states that the Lord is against them that do evil. What a powerful premise for influencing a community: the prayers of the righteous ascending to a God who is against them that do evil! The prayers of the righteous should truly be a “salt” of preservation in the communities in which we live. But do we pray? Or have we lost our “savor”? We must pray. We must pray for our government, our communities, and the civil authorities under which we live. We must quietly enter into our closets, far away from the noise and din of the rallies of political protest, and pray that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life according to the will of the Lord!

Christians are the salt of the earth when they keep their Churches pure and holy. “That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Eph 5:27). “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1Pe 2:9).

The pure holy Church of Jesus Christ exerts yet another powerful virtuous influence on the dark world around it. Jesus said, “…upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt 16:18). A church that remains true to her head, Jesus Christ, will be a bastion of truth, righteousness, and holiness that cannot be penetrated by the onslaughts of Satan himself. What a powerful testimony of righteousness in a decadent world of darkness!

Alas, manychurches have strayed from the foundational rock upon which Christ builds His church. Failure to deal with sin, apostasy, and false doctrine has rendered many churches as ineffective as “salt that has lost his savor”. Could it be that when a church no longer raises the standard of the “holy nation”, that she must then resort to the Tea Parties of the earthly nation to influence the world?

Tea or salt? May God help us to be “salt in ourselves” for His glory!
— Peach Bottom PA June 2010