Citizenship

Kurt Tucholsky, a German-Jewish writer of the early 20th century, once said, “A country is not only what it does – it is also what it puts up with, what it tolerates.”  History tells us how corrupt, God-less leadership along with an indifferent, deluded, and/or ignorant populous led Germany to the reign of Hitler, Nazism, and the Holocaust.

I can’t help but then think, what has America become already?

We have our corrupt, God-less leaders.
We have our indifferent, deluded, and/or ignorant populous.
We have our -isms.
We have our holocaust—57 million murdered babies and counting since 1973.
What will America become?

Of even greater and eternal consequence is the sad reality that this speaks to the Church as well … what have we become already?

We have our corrupt leaders who only serve and worship the god of this world, teaching what appeases their own conscience, appeals to the flesh, and draws a crowd—or at least doesn’t offend too many.  Bonhoeffer, in The Cost of Discipleship, states “Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline. Communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ.”

We have our indifferent, deluded, and/or ignorant populous that has no knowledge of being born-again in Christ Jesus or being sanctified and transformed in the Word and Spirit.  What passes for Christianity is comfortable for them—makes them feel good or at least better about themselves.  Yet, Almighty God will have nothing to do with what they offer as service or worship.  Cain had his own ideas about worship and found them unacceptable to God.  Nadab and Abihu offered unauthorized/illicit fire in worship of God and were killed on the spot.  Jesus tells of those who will stand before the throne of judgment declaring their great works in His name, only to discover that He never knew them.  Similarly, He tells of those who, whether in religious piety or pure self-interest, failed to lovingly care for their neighbors and find themselves banished into eternal punishment.

We have our -isms … and factions and divisions and cults and, ultimately, there will be the apostate church.

We know what will become of all humanity for God declares the end from the beginning in His Word.  The eternal question, then is, what will become of me?  Where is my citizenship?  Is the Kingdom of God the Kingdom of my Father in Heaven?  Does God know me as His child?

If my citizenship is where it belongs, then my King has made my mission clear.  “[Y]ou shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31)  “[T]he hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.” (John 4:23)

In understanding how my citizenship is to be lived out, I hear Paul’s admonition to the churches of Ephesus.  “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.  To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints” (Eph. 6:10-18)

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