DUAL CITIZENSHIP

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We recently had a visit from a man that is running for our local city council. He came to our door to give us his card and ask for our vote. He introduced himself and said, “Is there anything you would like to ask me?” Since this visit was a little spontaneous I wasn’t in the “Ask a future councilman questions mode”, but Tracey popped her head around the corner and said, “Do you love Jesus?” His response was “Yes, if it wasn’t for him none of this would be possible.” I thought well, he’s answered correctly on the one question that really matters. There wasn’t much said after that but it made me think.

As believers and followers of Jesus Christ we have responsibilities in two realms. We are dual citizens. We live in the realm of time, space and matter as well as eternity. We are in an interesting place actually so how much time and energy are we to put into each of these? An election is coming up so what is the role of a believer?

There is the story in Mark 12 where some Pharisees and Herodians came and tried to trip Jesus up. They asked Jesus “Is it lawful to pay a poll-tax to Caesar, or not? Shall we pay or shall we not pay?” They thought they were being crafty but Jesus said, “Why are you testing me? Bring me a denarius to look at.” When they brought it Jesus asked them “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” And they said to him, “Caesar’s.” And Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

I am reminded of Jesus’ conversation with Pilate just before his crucifixion. Pilate asked Jesus “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus’ response to this was “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom was of this world, then my servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, my kingdom is not of this realm.” Jesus goes on to say he came here to “testify to the truth.” So this means that ultimately our citizenship is not from here on the earth but elsewhere. Paul told us in Philippians 3 “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ…”

There you have it! Jesus expects us to live in harmony in both realms as is possible. We live as citizens of both the material, temporal realm ran by man, even the ones that aren’t believers, and we live in the unseen, eternal realm ran by God himself.

Of course believers are divided when it comes to how active the church is supposed to be. On one side you have those that think we should rally around a candidate and be a force to get them elected as our duty as Christians. On the other side you have those that seem to think the church needs to stay out of the game of politics all together. Like so many other things I believe the answer lies somewhere in between. I do think as an individual citizen and member of the body of Christ I am obligated to be a part of the process. On the other hand I’m not so sure it’s the church’s role as a whole to spend too much time, effort and money getting involved in elections. The church as a whole’s role is to seek God on behalf of our government as Paul told Timothy in his first letter. Paul said, “First of all then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.”

I am not attempting to settle these issues here but let me end by saying this. We as the sons of God have an obligation to vote for leaders who are for Biblical principles. Sadly it seems as though most of the time our elected officials are really just high paid checkbook balancer’s. Jesus had it right again when he said, “you can’t serve God and mammon.” It is clear to me that the world runs on mammon (money, power). We the church must fulfill our role as intercessors on behalf of our government so we can live quiet, peaceful, Godly lives.

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