Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Most Divine Citizenship

“Then the commander said, ‘I had to pay a big price for my citizenship.’ ‘But I was born a citizen,’ Paul replied.”

~Acts 22:28 (NIV [italics for emphasis]).

Contract and permanent employees at most companies are treated differently. Entitlements and other conditions vary slightly—or even markedly—in proportion with the arrangements and relationships the company in question wishes to initiate and maintain. This relates very much to the concept of citizenship.

Citizenship is about belonging; it defines where we belong and how we belong. It helps form for us the very real identity of ourselves as we ‘pertain’ to our varying life situations.

What clubs, churches, professional societies et cetera we belong to also align with this broad notion of citizenship.

So What?

There’s an important dimension of citizenship we can too easily gloss over.

Consider Paul. He had the highest status of Roman citizenship there was. He was born a Roman. The next best thing—though not anywhere near the same status as being a Roman citizen by birth—was if you bought, or were granted, Roman citizenship.

Of course, in First Century Greco-Roman life if you weren’t a Roman citizen you were very much of lower socio-economic ilk and societal privileges were few.

This is all good to know but where do we fit?

Citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven

Believers in the death and resurrection of Jesus, as the Atonement for the sin of the world—those who call Jesus their Saviour—are granted the highest order citizenship there is.

This is no citizenship on the level of the ordinary worldly variety. The privilege granted in full is to know God, the Maker of the universe—and to know all good things, through faith.

Through this citizenship we climb not a status-tree but we do go from estranged-of-God and therefore cursed, to unconditionally blessed in one foul swoop and we’re granted the citizenship of ‘birthright’ quality—this is no second-rate ‘bought’ or ‘contractor’ citizenship; not with God.

Do we very often consider the dimensions of blessedness of this heavenly citizenship?

To know God and to be made right with God—upon one quantifiable decision and confession—that is an incomprehensible grace!

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

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