To say the least, immigration is a hot topic today. Just turn on the news for a couple of minutes and it becomes all too clear that the topic dominates most others. America is a nation of immigrants and I would suggest that the Kingdom of God is as well.
Jesus’ central message was to reveal God and His kingdom. In a kingdom, there is a king. A king has a country under his rule, a constitution that defines his rule, laws to enforce his rule, and people over which he rules.
In the Kingdom of God, the believer’s constitution is the Bible, which outlines the full rights and benefits of living under the King. If we follow the laws and principles within those pages, we will prosper. If we don’t, our life will be a struggle.
There are established laws governing the way people live, interact and what benefits are provided in the Kingdom. In any country, there are legal and illegal immigrants. The Bible addresses this as it pertains to the church; the people under Jesus, the King’s rule.
As with any immigration protocol, there are criteria for citizenship in God’s kingdom. “… that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10, NKJV). From that moment on, an immigrant on planet earth who becomes a believer becomes a citizen of the Kingdom of God, with full status as a son. “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:26, NKJV). In short, believers become legal immigrants in the Kingdom of God.
Believers also have the help of the Holy Spirit to understand what the Bible says and the ability to apply it.
But there are those among the church who attempt to earn God’s favor purely without applying for citizenship by complying with the above Biblical verse. Instead, they seek to do so through good works such as perfect church attendance, singing in the choir, or even faithfully feeding the poor. These are all good things, but if they’re not done from a pure heart of faith and reliance on God and His Word, they are illegal immigrants spiritually.
Under the rule of the King, all former allegiances must be abandoned. A person simply cannot live according to old ideals and laws of behavior. The laws of the old country (way of life) have no legal standing in the new.
In the Kingdom the culture is defined by love. Kingdom citizens cannot simply look out for their own interests; they must do so for their neighbors. They no longer have the right to harbor unforgiveness; they must love their enemy.
God initiated a way for everyone to become a full citizen of His kingdom. It’s our choice whether we become full citizens, or not. And, we must make ourselves fit for His use. “For our citizenship is in heaven… the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body…” (Philippians 3:20-21, NKJV).
Are you a citizen of the Kingdom of God? I encourage you to discover your rights and benefits today.
* * *
Rob Granger is Senior Pastor of Faith Harbor Church, a non-denominational church that meets at 10 a.m. Sundays in the Escondido Columbus Hall, 515 W. Valley Parkway. His wife, Becky, serves as co- Pastor. Videos of Pastor Rob’s sermons can be seen on YouTube by typing faith harbor church escondido ca in the YouTube search box. Visit fhcescondido.com for information about Faith Harbor Church.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Times-Advocate.