Where is your Citizenship?
Written by Pastor Jim Law
Our country will turn 235 years old on Monday. What an amazing story the United States of America has been on the stage of world history. For those who have eyes to see, God’s providential hand has moved mightily in establishing and sustaining arguably the greatest nation in the history of the world.
When I travel internationally, in contradistinction to the anti-American sentiment which fills the media, it is amazing to see the response of many who would do anything to live and have a U.S. citizenship. It is moving and very comforting to me when returning to the U.S. to hear “Welcome Home” from the immigration officials.
Our country has served as a refuge of hope for millions. Emma Lazarus wrote of this refuge in words found at the Statue of Liberty:
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
Certainly, there is a sense pride and gratitude for the blessings of this land. Only an ingrate would deny the riches of opportunity and resources that have been afforded us. The follower of Jesus Christ should use the freedoms given to make much of the Gospel and mobilize the church to take the Good News to the ends of the earth as we were commanded to do.
As wonderful as is it is to have a United States citizenship, there is citizenship that trumps them all. We read of it from the pen of the Apostle Paul who wrote that for the believer in Jesus Christ we have entered a Kingdom that is eternal, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 3:20)
While nations rise and fall, there is a citizenship that is eternal and comes by virtue of a new birth. Are you a citizen of heaven? Have you come to see your true spiritual condition in that because of your sins you are estranged from the living God and therefore are under His judgment (John 3:36)?
Salvation is beautifully pictured as the turning from the dregs of one’s sin and finding refuge in the Lord Jesus Christ. (Colossians 1:13,14) This amazing salvation is a miraculous work of God. (John 3:1-16)
The centerpiece of this salvation is a monument that brings the greatest hope and refuge weary pilgrims could ever need. It is not the Statue of Liberty. It is the Cross where Jesus died. It was on those wooden beams that history is literally nailed together. He stretched out his arms and died willingly to redeem sinners, and through Him, and Him alone, one is delivered from the domain of darkness, and transferred with full citizenship into His Kingdom.
His power to deliver and bestow an eternal citizenship is rooted in the fact that not only did He die, but three days later He rose from the dead and He is coming to this earth again.
His call is to those who have ears to hear, “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavily burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) Come to Him by faith, trusting in His saving promises, and find rest for your soul and a hope in which there is no disappointment. (I Peter 2:6b)