Pastor

Dual Citizenship

Dual citizenship occurs when a person is concurrently regarded as a citizen of more than one state under the laws of those states. Some states do not allow for renunciation of citizenship, and so becoming a citizen of another country makes dual citizenship the only option. Other states do not allow for dual citizenship, which makes dual citizenship impossible.

Fact: If you are a Christian, you in fact hold dual citizenship! (That is, if you are indeed a citizen of a nation on earth) The Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Philippi: “But our citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20).

What does this mean? Well, first off, it means that we have great privileges! That’s something we don’t commonly think about as U.S. Citizens – that is, until we visit a foreign country that doesn’t have the resources and freedoms that Americans do. We have indeed been given much. And all the freedom and prosperity of the United States is microscopic in comparison with the privileges of heavenly citizenship! Forgiveness, the assurance of salvation, eternal life, access to the heavenly throne room, all the vast riches of his grace! It also means we have great responsibilities. Holding citizenship in Jesus’ kingdom means that we are all ambassadors to whatever earthly citizenship status we hold. In other words, it means that we are all first citizens of heaven. In my experience, ambassadors hold themselves with great dignity, and a strong priority of their service is to maintain absolute integrity for the reputation of the nation they represent. In every way, let us bear the name of Jesus with justice, joy, and honor.

But we find ourselves at a particularly important time in the exercise of our rights of U.S. Citizenship. This year’s election has been particularly volatile, and many of us feel that the choice of candidates is less than ideal. So what are we to do?

1. Recognize our responsibilities. Jesus said, “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.”  While there was no participatory democracy in the Roman empire of Christ’s day, the implications of what Jesus said are that we are to engage in serving our earthly leaders. As Americans, God has afforded his people a unique opportunity. Running for office, participating in a variety of political causes, and voting are freedoms few Christians in the course of human history have had. Let’s use ours well.

2. Thoughtfully engage. God has given clear guidelines in his Word for right and wrong. He also makes it clear that he is passionately concerned for justice and dignity for all peoples. Finally, he has delegated clear responsibility to government for the legal use of force to provide for a secure and law- abiding state. (See Exodus 20, Amos 5, and Romans 13; these are but a few passages of many in the Bible).

3. Prayerfully decide. The Bible promises: “If any of you lack wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all, without finding fault” (James 1:5). Every Christian should thoughtfully and prayerfully enter the voting booth.

4. Respectfully engage. It’s an old American adage that in certain circles we don’t talk about politics and religion. Usually, that’s said because tempers can flare and feelings can be hurt. But as Christians we should not shy away from important subjects. Instead, we can passionately engage with humility and gentleness.

Be grateful! We as dual citizens are doubly blessed. We can thank God for blessings both temporary and eternal. An attitude of gratitude extends a thousand benefits.

Be bold! Don’t shy from sharing the benefits of our heavenly citizenship with others as you have the opportunity.

Pray! “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.”

Your Partner in the Gospel,

Pastor Ryan

God is Good, All the Time!