Enjoying the Journey
All Christians have a dual citizenship. We are temporary, earthly citizens of the nation where God has providentially allowed us to live and we are eternal, heavenly citizens of a much better country! In the words of the old song, “This world is not my home, I’m just passing through.” The Lord’s people ought to be the most caring, principled, and helpful citizens of their present nation, but they must also remember that they are only pilgrims on their way home (Hebrews 11:13-16).
When Christ lived in one of the most pagan empires of world history He did not lead a revolt against Caesar. Think of it! He had to answer the interrogation of the Pharisees and live under the reign of godless men. “Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: If My kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now is my kingdom not from hence” (John 18:36). God’s people today are dealing simultaneously with the arguments of empty “religion” and the decrees of secular government. What should be the spiritual response?
- We are told to submit to authorities (Romans 13:1) unless those authorities seek to take the place of God (Acts 5:29). The spirit of rebellion is not the spirit of Christ. So where do we draw the line? When men try to coerce the conscience and violate the clear teaching of Scripture and individual soul liberty, we must be true to God alone.
- We are told to pray for all that are in authority (1 Timothy 2:1-3). Those we like and those we may not agree with. Your prayers can do more than you can do through any other means. Never forget: “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will” (Proverbs 21:1). God can.
- We are told not to be an offence. Government leaders can often be filled (like we all can) with their own self importance and perceived powers. When our Master was questioned about his submission to unjust governmental intrusion and His own disciples were confused Christ taught one of the most profound truths about our place in this world. Read Matthew 17:24-27, “And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.” We are free…but we should not use that liberty in a way that offends and unnecessarily distracts from our true message.
There are a lot of angry, aggravated, annoyed people right now. Dear Christian, never forget “…the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God” (James 1:20). Yield your emotions to God, give your time to prayer, and continue to do what God has given you to do.
Charles Spurgeon said, “For us to hate those who are in error, or talk of them with contempt or wish them ill, or do them wrong, is not according to the Spirit of Christ. You cannot cast out Satan by Satan, nor correct error by violence, nor overcome hate by hate. The conquering weapon of the Christian is love.”
Paul did not spend his energy fighting Nero. I am not advocating that we become passive and remove ourselves from the process. God forbid! Do all you can with your earthly citizenship to influence the nation for good and God. But the church is not called to make this world a better place from which to go to hell.
If we are more interested in this political term than we are eternity, something is wrong. If we are more concerned about causes other than souls, we have missed something. Believers in our own nation have for too long rested on the false sense of “majority.” The Lord’s people have never been the majority – we are the remnant! God help us to be the salt and light we were called to be, and to rejoice that soon we will be with home with Him.
“For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20). The word used for conversation means colony – our colony is in heaven! We are only seasonal settlers here. Be the best Christian citizen you can be and tell everyone about the better country to come.