I heard some pretty horrific terminology the other day, and it wasn’t because I have an English degree. I heard the term “undercover Christians” used to describe coworkers on my local radio station, and I nearly died of heart failure. Undercover Christians?! We should be the most easily recognizable people on the face of the earth. After all, we are called to be “peculiar.” Truthfully, it hurt my heart. Why are there so many people hiding their identity in Christ? Why can’t the world tell us apart? What happened to being “in the world but not of it”? The answer, I found, is scattered throughout the scriptures. The first of which is in 2 Kings 2:19-25:
“The people of the city said to Elisha, ‘Look, our lord, this town is well-situated, as you can see, but the water is bad and the land is unproductive.’
‘Bring me a new bowl,’ he said, ‘and put salt in it.’ So they brought it to him.
Then he went out to the spring and threw the salt into it saying, ‘This is what the Lord says, “I have healed this water. Never again will it cause death or make the land unproductive.” And the land has remained pure to this day, according to the word of the Lord.”
The land is unproductive and the culprit is some very impure water. Rarely do we ever realize how important good water is until we no longer have it. But the effects of bad water will make you look up and take notice, huh? Nothing fruitful grows if the water isn’t pure because tainted water, or water with chemical contaminations, will kill vegetation instead of helping it to thrive.
The water signifies the Word of God, the purifying quality of the Word that washes through us and cleanses us, according to Ephesians 5:26. We wonder why America is in a state of moral decline and we are facing all out war against the Christian faith … Take a look at the story. The land was unproductive because the water was bad.
The truth is, there is a false word being deliberately fed into the church, which is producing wishy-washy Christians. Christians who seem “undercover” because they aren’t serious about rejecting the world and becoming a part of the body of Christ. The world can’t tell most Christians from a hole in the wall because instead of resisting the devil, Christians have begun to compromise in the name of “grace” which has become a false teaching that asserts that Jesus died so we don’t have to worry about our sin. There is no more working out our salvation with fear and trembling anymore. People are no longer worried about their sin, no longer repentant before the Lord because they’ve been told there’s nothing to be sorry for. After all, God expects us to screw up everyday, right? So why let Him down? This kind of twisted logic has effectively rendered the church ineffective in America. And the result is, the land is unproductive. Why do we no longer teach that “… if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment. (Hebrews 10:26)” We’ve polarized the topic of grace to the detriment of our eternal salvation.
Let’s move on, now, to Elisha’s response. He asked for a new bowl full of salt. A new bowl. A new, pure vessel. And full of salt. Jesus tells us we are the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13). When we accept Christ, we become a new vessel, full of salt. Elisha took that new bowl and flung it out over the water, and it revived the land. This is what the Lord intends to do with us when we are first saved. He intends to take this new vessel that we become, full of salt, with the knowledge of a pure Word, to revive the land. How, then, can we ever be okay with being “undercover Christians”? Jesus went on in his narrative to talk about the worth of salt that’s lost it’s flavor. That is, to say it’s worth nothing but must be thrown out. That’s a terrifying prospect, now, isn’t it?
We are warned in the Bible about the broad and the narrow way. To paraphrase Matthew 7:13, broad is the path that leads to destruction and many find it. I feel like, if as a Christian, you are indistinguishable from the world around you, you might very well be on the wrong road. Narrow is the way that leads to life, and few there be that find it. Therefore, if you tend to be one of those people on a road that leads to loneliness and isolation because people deem you too “churchy” for their circle, you could be on the right track.
We are still here because the Lord desires to use us to reach others. His plan does not involve us getting our kicks because honestly, if we are in Christ, we should be repulsed by the things that tempt our flesh. We shouldn’t be trampling grace, we should be living it as an example for others. And Paul specifically addresses sinning so that grace may abound by basically saying, “God doesn’t need that kind of help.”
How do we help, then? By being peculiar. By making decisions that illuminate Christ. Are we a city on a hill or aren’t we? We can’t be undercover and be the light of the world. Our lives should make the world breathless in awe and wonder. Like Jesus, at the hands of the murderous crowd, who kept his peace and made the people marvel. Like Jesus, who supped with sinners and walked away having changed them. That’s what salt does. Salt preserves and revives. Salt doesn’t change to the environment around it. It changes the environment. We should be like that, for the sake of the call of Christ. I didn’t become a Christian so I could get my grace card punched and keep living like the world around me. I became a Christian because something about the love of God penetrated me so deeply I couldn’t stand myself any other way but dead to sin and alive in Him. I pray there are others who will say the same thing, and we can begin to live in such a way that America takes notice of Christ again.
Father, I want to be a vessel you can use. Purify me and add the salt so I may speak a Word that is undefiled. Then pour me out in your time. I love you.