As we come to the middle of summer and move into fall we will have witnessed the political conventions as well as the campaigns for president. Political campaigns test the patience of most people and certainly the good will of many Christians. In an imperfect world, political campaigns are a good mirror of that imperfection. There is very little in campaigning that recommends itself as candidates walk on the edge to out-do one another to win our hearts and votes. Yet it is our political system in which, unless we are going to abdicate our responsibility and endanger our freedom, Christians as citizens of this country will participate. Good citizenship involves voting. It involves praying for those in authority as well as for our country. It means maintaining a level of interest and participation. Good citizenship involves living one’s faith according to the will of God. We are in the world but not of it. We are in the world but as Christians cannot drop out of it. Scripture tells us in Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2 that we should respect and be obedient to those who are in authority. God the Father is pleased to bless a nation for the sake of the believers in Christ who live in it. After all, our nation is where we live. We should want to do what we can in order that the blessing of God may fall upon it.
The Christian can endure in this imperfect world and nation because he knows that there is a release. The Lord God has promised to believers in Jesus a full and perfect life in the perfection of heaven. Christians have dual citizenship. The one is here as citizens of this nation. The other is greater and eminently more desirable. Scripture says, “Your citizenship is in heaven, from which we eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ . . .” (Philippians 3:20). It is in heaven where our thoughts are focused. Temporal government is not our provider. Our Father in heaven is! Temporal government is not our Savior. The Lord Jesus is! Temporal government is not forever. The kingdom of God is eternal. Here is not our home. Heaven is!
Theoretically, citizenship in a nation carries with it certain rights, privileges, and protections. At the same time we know that rights, privileges and protections are under constant danger of being lost. There are the unscrupulous who for personal gain and ego want to rob us of our citizen rights. There are the well intentioned who want to do for us what we can and should do for ourselves. In either case they diminish what is our citizenship in a free country. On the other hand the citizenship, which we enjoy as citizens of heaven, is not subject to private interpretation or the whims of any who abuse our freedom as citizens. Greater than the bill of rights which speaks to our citizenship in America is the Guarantor of our citizenship in heaven. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Guarantor of our citizenship in heaven. God our Father cares about the citizens of heaven while they are still here on earth. He will come to His children. He will deliver us. God our Father for Jesus’ sake has laid up an inheritance for us in heaven. For the citizens of heaven there is this divine promise, “There remains therefore a rest for the people of God” (Hebrews 4:9). The citizenship of God’s people in heaven and its blessings will not be stripped from them, nor diminished.
There should be no better citizens of this earth than they who are citizens of heaven, because they recognize their responsibility to reflect the glory of their Father. At the same time Christians will not be wedded to this earth or this nation for they are called to something better. Let our faith be that of Abraham of whom it is said, “By faith he sojourned in the land of promise in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose maker and builder is God” (Hebrews 11: 9,10).