This is the third in a series addressing those who profess Christ and consider themselves Americans first and foremost. The point of this series is to educate everyone (not just born-again believers) on what the Scripture actually states concerning a proper attitude toward authority and toward those around us, both the froward and the good. As always, my prayer is that everyone learn what is the heart and mind of the LORD God. — In Christ, Paul W. Davis
As is now noted in Scripture, the born-again child of God is plainly considered a “stranger and pilgrim” on this earth. In fact, all believers, from the very beginning have been, and are, “strangers and pilgrims” on this earth and are “a peculiar people,” and “an holy nation.” It is clearly stated in Hebrews, Chapter 11, this began with Abel, and was plainly seen in the life of Abraham. Moreover, nothing has changed in the intervening millennia between Abel and now, and thus the fact that a born-again Believer is a stranger and pilgrim upon this earth continues to this day. This gives rise to the question about the allegiance of the believer, and where it primarily lies.
Now, I know that the vast majority of individuals out there, including a lot of “fundamental, independent Baptists” would say their allegiance lies with whatsoever country they happen to be a “citizen” of, meaning the country in which they physically reside. However, I must bring up the old cliche (which is a truism actually) of “Home is where the heart is.” What I mean by this is the question:
What makes an American, an American?
I ask that question because being an American is unique in the world, in that one is an American regardless of skin color, heritage, national origin, religion, or a host of other physical attributes that men look at. No, one is an American because one holds to a certain ideal — from the heart. Thus, being an American is a wonderful example and picture of a spiritual truth — that it is the total change in heart that makes one no longer a citizen of this world, as the Scripture plainly states:
Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:11-22)
Though the above passage speaks to Israel and the church as covenanted institutions of witness, it also speaks very plainly of the citizenship of the born-again Believer and states:
“Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;”
By this, the Believer is NOT first and foremost a citizen of whatsoever country they happen to reside in. Rather, the Believer is first a citizen of the Kingdom of God, and second a citizen of whatsoever country they happen to reside in. It is this way because we are expressly told that we are, as born-again children of God, ambassadors to this world — and in the case of Steven Anderson (if so be he is born-again) and many others (myself included) — particularly to America:
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. (II Corinthians 5:17-20)
Since it is the case that Scripture demonstrates plainly that Believers are ambassadors to whatsoever country the LORD happens to place them in; as a born-again Believer, one should also understand what this demands of them:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:1-2)
It always makes me smile to read the phrase “which is your reasonable service” . . .
To be continued . . .