Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Does It Really Matter?

The national anthem. Kneeling football players refusing to stand. Angry people, insulted by the "disrespect" shown to the flag and country it represents. Amidst the roiling turmoil, Christians have raised their voices in disgust as well. But does it really matter? Is this a cause that should be of the utmost importance to the advancement of the gospel and kingdom of Christ, that we as Christians need to become involved in it? Does Christ expect us to be patriotic? These are real questions that we should all ask ourselves.

As for being patriotic, the Bible teaches us to be in subjection to our leaders, to obey the laws of the land, pay our taxes, and respect those in authority (Romans 13:1-7). However, you will be hard pressed to find a passage of scripture that would teach us to be patriotic. It is not "God and country" as so many Christians believe. The exact opposite is true. The bible also abundantly teaches us that we as Christians are strangers and pilgrims in a world that is not our home (1 Peter 1:1; Heb 11:8-10, 13-16, 13:14). In fact we are exhorted to come out and be separate (2 Cor 6:17), to not be conformed to the world (Romans 12:2), and not to love the world (1 John 2:15).

Contrary to popular opinion, America is not a godly nation, it is not God's chosen people, and is not currently serving God. Like all of the other nations of this world, it is enshrouded in spiritual darkness, the hearts and minds of the people blinded by the god of this age (2 Cor 4:4). Look at the rampant sin, the disdain for God and His ways, all of the wicked things that this nation does and allows, and ask yourself how it could be possible as a Christian to be filled with patriotic fervor? Whose side our we on? Do we love Christ or this world? It can't be both.

We are in this world, but not of it (John 17:14-18), citizens of Christ's kingdom.  As Christ's ambassadors our purpose is not to fix this world, not to make our nation great again, but to lead others to repentance and faith, that they too would escape the corruption of this sinful world, and find refuge in Christ Jesus. We read that someday the kingdoms of this world will all come to nought. This world and all it stands for will someday be destroyed (2 Peter 3:8-13; 1 John 2:16-17). We are called to follow Jesus, to obey Him, to live by His word, and to make His kingdom the all consuming priority of our lives, while we wait for a new heavens and earth where righteousness dwells. Don't let yourself get sidetracked by other things, and as a result lose out in the end. When we appear before Christ, it will not be about our protests, our defense of the pledge of allegiance or the national anthem, but we will be judged by our obedience to Christ.

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