Sojourning vs Citizenship

John 16:33 (57053)

I am troubled by the State and the Church and their responses to immigrants, borders, and just being good neighbors and people. What troubles me most is the involvement of Christians in an agenda that finds no Scriptural basis of support, but does find arguments within the Democrat and Republican platforms and their subsequent actions.

Christians are putting Mammon before God when the civil religion of politics trumps our faith and fidelity in God and the working of His plan through Jesus.

Since I just opened that hive and many will prepare to launch their stinging attacks without further ado, let us first consider the role of the prophets in the Old Testament. Let us also consider the words of Jesus, John the Baptist, and the Apostles in the New Testament that often held the same call to repentance and pursuit of the kingdom of God.

This prophetic role was to call Israel, the Northern Kingdom, and Judah into covenant fidelity with God in the Old Testament. The covenants were being violated and the prophets acted similar to a prosecuting attorney in calling them to the carpet. They outlined the original agreement, pointed out where the covenant was being violated, and in response said repentance was necessary or God was justified in instituting the curses of covenant violation. They would reap their due rewards for violating their covenant with God.

The role of prophets does not disappear in the New Testament. Nor does the role leave us today. Calls to fidelity are still necessary today as we read in Ephesians 4: 11-19,

“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds, and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. they are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance what is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.” (emphasis is mine)

If we look at the bold words of Paul to the church, he is urging believers to not be tossed about by human cunning or get entangled in deceitful schemes, but instead to speak the truth in love while departing their old ways and putting on the new life of Christ. Paul is calling believers out of their past life and into their new and in so doing, cease to place importance on the things and structures of the world and instead place their emphasis and focus on the kingdom of God.

If we look at Luke 4: 28-30, we see the response in the synagogue to hearing God wants to bless all people. The folks in the synagogue grew furious hearing God cared about others and that Jesus was here for all people, not just the Jews. As Americans, we often think of ourselves first as Americans and somewhere down the line as a member of some church of denomination and generally have no consideration for our position and role within the kingdom of God.

What this does is place the emphasis on nationality over status as a believer in the kingdom of God. We fail to recognize God does not look at people as American, Canadian, Mexican or any other nationality. God sees us as either redeemed or damned. There is no special line for people based on nationality when they stand before the throne and judgment. Look at the words of the Bible in Rev 20: 11-12,

“Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened.”

Judgment comes for all. Only those in Christ will be found in the Book of Life and all people whose names are not written in the Book of Life will be thrown into the lake of fire. This judgment has nothing to do with nationality and everything to do with Jesus. We either accept the free gift of grace through Jesus to heal our sinful past or we stand condemned by our sins to the lake of fire.

This world we live in and the kingdom of God are separate and distinct. In John 15: 18-19 we read,

“If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”

Our identity today, as believers and receivers of grace, is in Jesus, not the structures of the world. This world is the dominion of Satan, which we can know without a doubt as he offered it to Jesus if only Jesus would worship him in Luke 4: 5-7,

“And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, ‘To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.'”

The devil could not give away what was not his to give. We must recognize and acknowledge everyday as believers, this world is the domain and dominion of the devil and not something we should place our identity within as believers. With Jesus we are called out of this satanic structure and system to be ambassadors to this world from the kingdom of heaven. This is our role here and one we fail in every single time we identify with a satanic structure and pursue its ends.

With all of this in mind and even more.

  • Should our faith be placed before our politics? Absolutely. We should not self identify as Republican/Democrat or anything else besides Christian. We should simply identify as Christian. However, understand the structure of the State is in full control of the devil and his domain while the believer’s true citizenship is in heaven. I cannot vote in Denmark’s politics because I am not a citizen there. Voting as a Christian wherever one lives is also not authorized by the kingdom of God, because we are a citizen of the kingdom of God and only sojourning wherever we may be.
  • Should Christians support the State in its efforts to cage other sojourners? Absolutely not. Which kingdom are we supporting, God’s or the devil’s? We shold not support the state in any of its efforts as it is the enemy of God’s kingdom. We must recognize sojourning is a normal response by people to the geographical effects of Satan’s domain on their person. Israel sojourned in Egypt as did Jesus to escape hunger and violence. People sojourn today for the same reason. They are fleeing something and seeking security elsewhere.
  • With this in mind, how should a believer respond to local and international politics? We must recognize local and international politics silently demand the honoring of Satan’s kingdom in our acquiescence to its desires. As believers we are above this fray and this is why there are so few martyrs today. Why would a Christian be martyred today when they go along with the devil’s dominion and render it honor and obedience and most often identify as some form of citizen in the devil’s dominion above their role in the kingdom of God. Christians are only martyred when they uphold God’s kingdom and reject Satan’s.

So believer, how well have you upheld the call of God to build His kingdom out of this world? Are you still emphasizing this world over God’s? What will you do and where will you look for guidance in the future regarding the kingdom of God and dominion of Satan?