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Something that is always said in the United States, whenever a miscarriage of justice or public disgrace is finally resolved, is: "At least it shows that the system still works."

Exactly what these words mean is debatable. But they speak comfort to people whose faith is in "the system". Whether it always works or whether it works fairly really are not the issues. These people only want to be reminded that the system is still there after all is said and done... whether or not what was said and done was said or done fairly.

But the bottom line is that the system is not fair. Unfairness is more or less part and parcel of being a system. Some systems are fairer than others, and there is some good in all systems. But sooner or later all systems fall short of perfection. And all systems work better for evil manipulators than they do for innocent and naive believers.

Of course we still live in this world, and we do need to learn how to interact with the systems around us each day. But a wise person learns to see through even the "good" points of the system, and to understand how it operates, so they will not be tricked by it.

Systems operate on the basis of a "social conscience". A social conscience is only a reflection of the collective and accumulated moral conscience of a society.

"Social conscience" is a term for our concern about what others think (or would think) of our actions. "Moral conscience", on the other hand, is something much deeper. It is the conscience we have when no one is looking. It represents how much genuine faith in God (or truth or love, or justice) we have.

When Jesus said to his followers that they were the salt of the earth, he may have been referring to their moral conscience. A few genuine saints can alter the collective (i.e. social) conscience of a nation, and thus raise even the moral standards of hypocrites. But remember that when this happens, the social conscience which results is really only a "reflection" of the genuine conscience of a few individuals.

Moral development goes through stages, from just doing the right thing out of fear, to doing the right thing in the face of total rejection and even death. Very few people ever reach the top level; and yet that is the level that Jesus expected of his followers.

He said, "The way to life is narrow and very few will find it." (Matthew 7:14) But these few become the light of the world, and the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13-14), dictating the social conscience for the rest of society.

Unfortunately, faith in the system and obedience to a social conscience will never bring eternal life. To follow Jesus we must be willing to step out from behind the protection of the system. We must be willing to face the angry mob, and learn what it is like to be hated and slandered when all we were trying to do was to follow our highest revelation of Truth. It is out here in obedience to a moral conscience that we discover just how evil even the best system can be, and just how cruel the social conscience can be.

The difference between the best system and the worst is only a speck compared to the log of difference between them all and the kingdom of heaven. To be a part of the kingdom of heaven (where Truth is all important), we must turn our backs on (and face rejection from) all the systems of man.

Very few people will do that.

The world today is populated almost entirely by what we call systemites, that is, followers of the system or social conscience. Because genuine followers of God are becoming so rare, the social conscience is becoming more and more debased.

Jesus said, "When the Son of Man comes, will there be any faith (at all) left on earth?" (Luke 18:8) The "salt of the earth" (i.e. people with a strong moral conscience) is becoming rarer and rarer today. Fewer and fewer people are prepared to forsake everything for the Truth.

There is coming a time when the collective conscience of the human race will become so debased that the Devil himself will be able to take over the world and destroy whatever remains of our social conscience. At the moment the social conscience of a few individuals still holds the Devil back.

He is especially restricted by people who have learned about his plan for world domination (usually from someone who learned of it from someone, etc.) from someone who had genuine faith in Jesus and his teachings.

But even most of these people who are trying to warn the world of the coming Antichrist will one day join in attacking those of us who know the truth about the futility of their efforts to fight fire with fire, system with system, and counterfeit with counterfeit.

Our call to everyone is to forsake their systems, forsake their political hopes, forsake their religious solutions, forsake their friends and families, forsake their jobs and possessions, and follow the one true Christ of the Gospels, who is the only begotten Son of the Creator of the Universe, sent here to give us the answers to our existence.

There may not be enough true believers left to save the world much longer, but we can at least find eternal salvation for ourselves through faith in Jesus and all that he taught.

(See also Which Christ are You Following? part 4)

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