“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, drive out demons in your name, and do many miracles in your name?’ Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you lawbreakers!'” Matthew 7:21-23 CSB
There is currently a plethora of news reports and opinion pieces on the subject of US citizenship. Living in the United States has its benefits that I appreciate. It also has its disadvantages for Christians that I must be aware of in order to live as God wants me to live. The stark reality is our citizenship and allegiance as Christians is in the eternal kingdom of heaven. It is the only citizenship that ultimately matters.
The United States is a kingdom divided. There are many religions, political parties, and ideologies that make up the fabric of her flag. Because of her emphasis on individualism and wealth gathering she has spawned various varieties of American Christianity. Some are associated with specific political parties (Republican/white evangelicals – Democratic Party/Red Letter Christians). Some are wealth gathering at their core (Word Faith-Signs & Wonders), while others pursue the bigger is better philosophy (Church growth/program based – Business model). But all are uniquely American. None of this matters in the Kingdom of Heaven other than to distract us from God’s purposes in the world.
What Really Matters?
The only thing that really matters is where our citizenship and pledges of allegiance lie. It should lie squarely in the Kingdom of God. When we stand before God it is not going to matter in what country you pledged your allegiance or which political party you affiliated with. Nicodemus, a prominent ruler of the Jewish people, came to Jesus wanting to know if God was with Him. Jesus’ immediate reply was that in order to see the Kingdom of God one had to be born again. The term “born again” or “born from above” implies an individual act but it is also an individual act that becomes a part of a greater whole. After being “born again” one becomes a citizen of another kingdom. Because of our change in identity we become “aliens” in the world of our former citizenship. Like refugees we stream away from what is evil and harmful to what is good and righteous. We travel this world in our refugee status toward our final home in God’s heaven. Along the way we invite others to join our caravan and warn them of the impending disaster that is certain to come. Yes, the world will, at times, hate us because our allegiance is not with them but we press on. And as we go we pray together, we worship together, we help one another, we give aid to those who we find in the ditches that have been beat and abused by the world’s system. We invite them all.
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 11:28–30). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.