A Different Kind of Patriotism

 

In July of 1776, our forefathers brought forth a new nation, calling it The United States of America. It was to be a land of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. On the fourth of this month, we will celebrate the birth of the nation with barbecues and fireworks, with anthems and parades, but this country has indeed fallen from the lofty heights that once made it great. What used to be a land of freedom is now bonded in slavery to intolerant tolerance. The people that at one time proclaimed “In God We Trust,” now doubt his existence and mock as foolish those who believe.

Such is the fate of all nations that are founded on the principles of human governance. The United States always was a kingdom of this world, even if we would like to believe in its eternal destiny. The destiny of this kingdom, just like all those before it and after it, is to crumble under the weight of time and change. We love our country and our citizenship, but is citizenship really worth binding to an earthly domain?

From the beginning of his ministry, Jesus proclaimed the coming of the kingdom of God. His concern was never about reforming the kingdom of the world. Jesus was a patriot, but he was a different kind of patriot. He proclaimed a kingdom without end, a kingdom that was not bound by rulers or laws of men, but led by God himself.

Jesus surely challenged the rulers of the world, calling to account their notions of God and the covenant that he had established with people of Israel. In his many encounters with the scribes and priests, he turned their conceptions of the promises of God on their heads, so that the people might grasp their eternal significance and not be limited to their temporal understanding. In Luke 4:43, he confirmed that his purpose was to preach the good news of the kingdom.

As Jesus traveled throughout the region, he spoke by way of many parables about the kingdom of God, revealing its nature to the people of this world. The kingdom of God has come (Matt. 12:28), it is coming in the future (Matt. 26:29), it is for those who receive it like a child (Mark 10:15), it is difficult to enter (Mark 10:24) yet those who are born of water and the Spirit will enter (John 3:5), and it is like a bountiful harvest (Mark 4:26-29) among many other things. Christ constantly told parables to show what the kingdom of God was like, and to help prepare the people for its present and future, yet they did not listen.

Here we are 2,000 years later, and it is still easy to lose sight of the true kingdom to which we as believers belong. I will say that I am a proud American citizen and I look forward to celebrating that citizenship on Independence Day. With that being said, I, and all believers, must be ready to forsake this country and our citizenship should it ever oppose the will of our God. We must declare our independence in our heavenly Father, for “our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:20).

As we think of the rocket’s red glare and the bombs bursting in air, let us remember the love that ran red, which truly set us free. Let us dwell in and look forward to the kingdom of God, to which our citizenship belongs in Christ Jesus. Let us be a different kind of patriot with the Law of God being the flag upon our hearts and minds (Hebrews 10:16).

Sincerely,

Pastor Ryan