Saturday, July 5, 2008

CHRISTIANS HAVE DUAL CITIZENSHIP


We are citizens of heaven,
where the Lord Jesus Christ lives.
And we are eagerly waiting
for him to return as our Savior.
Philippians 3:20 NLT

Independence Day honors the birthday of the United States of America and the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 - making it the oldest constitutional republic in the world. It's a day of picnics and patriotic parades, a night of concerts and fireworks, and a reason to fly the American flag.

The U.S. of A. has had seasons of great national pride. At other times patriotism has ebbed. Our country has been greatly blessed by God in so many ways. We have enjoyed freedoms and privileges that few, if any, other country has. We all recognize there are many things in our beloved America that are disappointing, but it still is the best country on earth to live in and raise a family.

My grandparents and parents, on both sides of my family, emigrated from Russia to this country in the late 1800’s. It goes without saying, their choice to become American citizens has had a profound impact on my life. Being born in this country automatically made me an American citizen.

Great as it is to be a citizen of the United States, there is a citizenship that is infinitely of greater value than any national citizenship. When we put our faith in Jesus Christ as our savior, we are born again, and by that spiritual birth we automatically become citizens of heaven – as Paul says, “we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives.”(a) It only takes a brief study of history to learn that earthly nations don’t last forever. They rise for a season, then fall and others rise up in their place. But the kingdom of heaven will never fall. In fact, when Jesus comes back He will rule in heaven and on earth forever!(b)

After World War II, I served with our military in Italy. Before going on leave, my superior officer would always remind us that we were American citizens and were to conduct ourselves in a way that would honor our country. As important as that was, it is much more important to remember that as Christians we are citizens of heaven and need to conduct ourselves accordingly.(c) Being good citizens of heaven will also make us good law abiding citizens of our country. However, if the law of the land demands of us action which conflicts with the Word of God, our highest allegiance must be to God’s Word no matter what that may cost us.

“God Bless America, Land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her
Thru the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam
God bless America, My home sweet home.” (d)

Let’s Pray-
Father, by your grace you have raised up our beloved America. You have blessed this nation for many generations. But now it is drifting from your ways. Help us as citizens of heaven to pray, and so live that a spiritual renewal would once again flood this land from shore to shore!!
Amen.


Foot Notes:
(a) Philippians 3:20 NLT, (b) Isaiah 45:23 NLT, (c) Philippians 1:27 NLT, (d) Irving Berlin.


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1 comment:

Carleen said...

Thanks for the encouragement.. I often think as I watch the world revolve around us, that I am a very thankful to be a citizen of the USA, but there is nothing like being a citizen under King Jesus.

I noticed you mention that your grandparents immigrated from Russia in the late 1800's, but I assume they were German. I have the same story in my family. Both my grandmother and grandfather immigrated from Russia. They were German, but had to move to Russia as Lutherans because of persecution, settled in Russia, then came under persecution again, so they headed for Canada, where they homesteaded property. When my mother was 20.
they found farming much too difficult and moved the entire family down to Wisconsin.

Womder if they were from the same area in Russia????

Interesting. Carleen