Life-Study of Matthewby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we come to the second section of the decree of the kingdom’s constitution (5:13-16), which concerns the influence of the people of the kingdom of the heavens upon the world. The kingdom people are salt to the corrupted earth and light to the darkened world.
After revealing the nature of the kingdom people, this decree goes on to cover their influence. The sequence here is significant. If the kingdom people did not have the nature described in 5:3-12, they could not have any influence on the world. The influence of the kingdom people comes out of their nature, out of what they are. If we, the kingdom people, the church people, are poor in our spirit, the kingdom of the heavens will have room within the depths of our being. Then we shall mourn, be meek, hunger and thirst for righteousness, be merciful, be pure in heart, be peacemakers, suffer persecution, and be reproached for Christ. If we are such people, we shall certainly exercise a great influence upon the worldly people around us. We shall spontaneously influence the corrupted earth and the darkened world.
Because the influence of the proper church life is lacking, the whole world is corrupt and in darkness. If you travel throughout the world, studying and observing the situation in various countries, you will see that two of the worst places are France and Sweden, countries without the influence of the proper church life. Moreover, due to the predominance of Catholicism, in Central America and South America there is nothing but darkness. Wherever Catholicism prevails, there is darkness and corruption. Today, as a preparation for the Lord’s coming back, there is the urgent need for all these dark and corrupted countries to be brought under the influence of the proper church life.
In verse 13 the Lord said, “You are the salt of the earth,” and in verse 14 He said, “You are the light of the world.” According to the Greek text, the pronoun here is plural. The “you” in these two verses does not refer to an individual, but to a corporate people. Most readers apply these verses to individuals. Those who have the nine blessings spoken of in verses 3 through 12 are a corporate people, not individuals. Therefore, the Lord’s word about salt and light does not concern individuals. Individually, none of us can be proper salt or proper light. In verse 14 the Lord likens us to a city, not to individual stones. This clearly reveals that the Lord’s word here is not intended for individuals, but for a corporate people built together on a high level. The Lord did not say, “You are the lights of the world.” He said, “You are the light of the world.” The plural “you” is just one light.
Do not consider the influence of the kingdom people upon the world an individual matter. If you try to be individually spiritual, you will not succeed. Even if you attain some individual spirituality, it will be a cancer. All individualistic spirituality is a cancer that absorbs into itself the nourishment intended for the whole Body. Cancer is not caused by germs; it is caused by cells in the body that separate from the body and care only for themselves. If you attempt to be individualistically spiritual, you will become a cancer. We all need to hear this word of warning.
During the past twenty-five years, I have come to see that spirituality is not an individualistic matter; it is absolutely a corporate matter. Take the example of physical health. The health of our body is not a matter of the individual members; it is a corporate matter. We do not say that our ears are healthy, but that our body is healthy. If your ears are not healthy, then your body must not be healthy either. Thus, health is a matter of the whole body.
When I was young, I took the Lord’s word in these verses about salt and light in an individualistic way, thinking that I personally was to be the salt and the light. But now I see that being salt is a corporate matter. We need to be impressed with the fact it is as a corporate entity that the kingdom people are salt and light. If we separate ourselves from the church life, we can no longer be salt or light.
Both the salt and the light refer to the corporate people of the kingdom. Today the church people are the kingdom people. Concerning discipline and exercise, we are the kingdom people. But concerning life and grace, we are the church people. In these verses it is a matter of exercise and discipline; hence it concerns the kingdom people. The kingdom people as a whole, as a corporate body, are salt and light.
In verse 13 the Lord speaks of the earth, and in verse 14 He speaks of the world. There is a difference between the earth and the world; the terms are not synonymous. What was created by God is the earth, and what came in through the corruption of Satan is the world. To the God-created earth, the kingdom people are salt. But to the Satan-corrupted world, they are light. We are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
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