Thursday, July 18, 2013

Citizenship, Allegiance, and the Kingdom of God

Today at a friend’s naturalization ceremony, as he became a citizen of the United States, I was struck by how the language of the Oath of Citizenship reminded me of key themes from recent preaching from Pastor Ben (from Titus 2:11-15) and from me (from Rom. 6:17-22) about the what it means to become, and then live as, a Christian.

"I hereby declare [cp. Rom. 10:9, “If you confess/declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’….”], on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure [“solemnly reject” Titus 2:11 -- ] all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen (Rom. 6:17ff. Colossians 1:13-14) …. The pledge goes on to speak of the citizen’s new commitment to “bear faith and allegiance to the Constitution” (compare again Rom. 6:17, and Matt. 28:18-19) and speak of the “service” (1 Thess. 1:9) that he or she will render to the citizen’s new nation….. Phil. 3:20.

The oath ended with a phrase that is entirely relevant to the believer in Christ: “so help me God.” (1 Thess. 5:23-24)

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