Monday, May 28, 2012

God and Kingdom

On Memorial Day I'm once again reminded that it is an odd thing to live in the USA and also be a follower of Christ. I'm thrilled to have the political freedoms that we do, but I also realize that political boundaries mean nothing within the Kingdom of God. I'm grateful to the service men and women who have died defending these freedoms, but at the same time I cannot personally justify the taking up of arms to kill another human being for political reasons.

I choose not to celebrate patriotic holidays such as Memorial Day, the 4th of July, and Veteran's Day because this nation is not truly my home (to clarify, I enjoy the day off from work, but I don't wave the flag). My ultimate citizenship is not here. Rather, it's in heaven. I've written previously here and here about not loving my country.

As opposed to the phrase "God and Country," we followers of Jesus should be thinking in terms of "God and No Country." A more positive way of saying that is "God and Kingdom."

Jesus spoke more about the Kingdom of God than just about anything else. It may have been his favorite topic. For example:

"But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." Matthew 6:33

"Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God." Matthew 19:24

"The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel." Mark 1:15

But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, "Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God." Mark 10:14

"I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose." Luke 4:43

"To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand." Luke 8:10

"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." John 3:3

Those of us who are in Christ are also in His Kingdom. We have the daily privilege and duty of living out Kingdom life in whatever place we call home.

The Kingdom of God is not constrained in any way by political boundaries. There was a time when this was, to one degree or another, not the case. God dealt specifically and uniquely with the nation of Israel from Abraham until the time of Christ. Upon Jesus' coming, the kingdom began to spread to the Gentiles. We see this in rapid fashion in the book of Acts. Political boundaries, while a reality of the day, no longer mattered.

Christ's commission (Matt. 28:18-20) to us as the people of his kingdom is to make disciples of all nations. This refers to people groupings, not political states. In Acts 1:8, his followers are told to be his witnesses to the ends of the earth. In Luke 24 Jesus says, "Repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations." Again, our Lord is referring to people groups.

As we live for Christ, most of us will remain in the political states where we were born. This is just the nature of life. In ultimate terms, where we live is not significant. We could reside in the USA, Russia, Indonesia, Egypt, Andorra, North Korea, Chile, or any other country. The circumstances of our lives certainly differ based on where we live. For example, Christians in North Korea face vastly more persecution than anything we deal with here. Despite this, Christ expects us to live for him and him alone wherever we live.

Some of us will no doubt cross political boundaries to share the gospel. This is a beautiful thing. We must remember that we do this and/or support others in doing this in order to take the gospel to those who haven't heard it - regardless of political entity.

Political nation-states do not matter in God's Kingdom. This, quite simply, is why I do not love my country, I feel no duty to it, and I no longer say the Pledge of Allegiance.

My allegiance is to Christ and him alone. It is his kingdom that has eternal significance.


Jonathan said...

Well said fellow kingdom servant!

Eric said...



The ubiquitous mix of church and USA in this country is a great burden to me. I hope to be able to speak to other believers about the issue, but sadly it often becomes very emotional very quickly.

It is ironic that in a country that prides itself on the separation of church and state, the church has become a big cheerleader of the state.

Arthur Sido said...

I am saddened and frankly sickened by the way we exalt the military might of America and invoke God's favor at the same time as if God is on America's side and when we bomb innocents abroad we are doing God's will. As you say this is an issue that is almost impossible to raise with many American believers because of the emotional attachment to this country. When we view the cross through a red, white and blue lens in invariably becomes distorted.

Tom said...

Thanks Eric for your insight into a subject that gets lots of press. I have a God loving son in the army who just returned from Kuwait/Iraq. I support him in anyway I can. The church and state pride drives me nuts too.

As Jonathan commented.....well said.

Eric said...


So true. I believe this is an issue where God is going to have to be the one to change hearts. Whenever I try to bring up anything related to this topic, it invariably doesn't end too well.

Eric said...


Thanks. Please know that I do not stand in condemnation of individual soldiers.

My frustration is with the larger American militaristic foreign policies, and the corresponding cheerleading by the church in this country.

Aussie John said...


A good word on a subject which puzzles me, as one who lives in a country where God is not a part of patriotic fervor.

Early Spanish explorers named this country Terra Australis del Espiritu Santu; Great Southland of the Holy Spirit.

God's name is seldom invoked, if ever,in patriotic causes.

Eric said...


The only thing I can figure out about this is that when some of the first Europeans came here they hoped to form a type of "New Israel." This led to an unhealthy church-state mix that has lasted ever since.

It's ironic because while the gov't here tries to rid society of church influence, the church turns around and cheers the state. It's odd.

Aussie John said...


That's what puzzles me, as I mentioned.