I'm a Foreigner
"But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior." Philippians 3:20 NLT
There's a running joke in my immediate (somewhat nomadic) family that we thought we were German till we found out we were English only to discover we weren't really sure about that either. We know we're Christian and our birth certificates declare we're American, beyond that it's anybody's guess.
The Christian rock band Petra released a song back in the day called Not Of This World, part of which went like this:
We are pilgrims in a strange land
We are so far from our homeland
With each passing day, it seems so clear
This world will never want us here
We're not welcome in this world of wrong
We are foreigners who don't belong
We are strangers, we are aliens
We are not of this world*
I feel that way sometimes, do you? The world we live in seems foreign somehow – or maybe it is me who is the foreigner.
When we become Christian, redeemed from sin and death by the cross of Christ, we are given citizenship, by grace, into the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus introduces His Kingdom the moment He began His public ministry by telling the people "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." In other words, I'm here. And I've brought My Kingdom with Me. He also told us that this Kingdom not seen with eyes would be "among us, in the midst of us" Luke 17:21. It was the Kingdom the Old Testament saints had been 'looking for' by faith in God's promises.
"They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. Obviously, people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them." Hebrews 11:13-16 NLT
And the 'city' prepared for the saints, eternal in heaven, was established on earth with the victory of Christ's resurrection. So the Christian is first a citizen of heaven, a citizen of the Kingdom – then an American, or Russian, or Mexican.
We are first Christian, and as such, always a foreigner here.
So I can say, I am a Christian; I belong to Christ. I am of one mind, one heart, one soul, and one body with all those who belong to Christ, whatever their nationality and political opinions. I stand opposed to those who would co-opt the name of Jesus for any secular, nationalistic, ideological or political purpose, however apparently noble and justifiable. The Kingdom of heaven is neither republican or democrat, neither liberal or conservative.
Does this mean I don't care about current issues? Not at all, I care and I pray and I vote. But I know, first and foremost that I am a citizen of heaven and a child of God. Father God loves people. He is for the humble, the poor and the faithful. He is champion of the orphan and widow. So I am as well. It's the simplicity of Christ and His redeeming love that will occupy my life.
*Writer(s): Peter Case, Ben Vaughn