Years ago my friends from Canada were living in the United States to attend college. While living here, they had several children who were granted dual citizenship. The one with dual citizenship has certain privileges, rights and responsibilities that go with that citizenship.
As born-again believers, we hold dual citizenship. We are first and foremost citizens of Heaven. Paul wrote the Philippians, “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ,” (Philippians 3:20). The word conversation has the idea of manner of life or our conduct, in other words, we are to act as citizens of Heaven because when we became children of God we became citizens of His Kingdom.
Secondly, Christians are citizens of an earthly kingdom. God established human government in Genesis 9:6, “Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” Paul tells us in I Timothy 2:1,2, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” No matter to which earthly kingdom one may belong, Christians have a responsibility to, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things which be God's.” (Luke 20:25)
With dual citizenship of Heaven and Earth, Christians have certain privileges, rights, and responsibilities. Remember the words recorded by Luke, “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” Let us examine the responsibilities of the Christian that come with each citizenship.
First, let us look at the responsibilities of the citizen of Heaven. Paul reminds us that we are ambassadors of Heaven to this Earth. “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God,” (II Corinthians 5:20). An ambassador is to represent his Country and his King. Our county is Heaven and Jesus is our King. We must represent Jesus to this world as we carry out the Commission He has given us. The Great Commission, as it is called, is given to us in Matthew 28:18-20, “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Are you representing your King well by living a separated, holy life that demonstrates Him to others and are you actively sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost around you so they also can become citizens of Heaven? After we lead a person to Christ, our responsibility is not over, for the Great Commission instructs us to disciple the new convert.
One of the responsibilities to our earthly kingdom which has already been mentioned is to pray for those in leadership. Remember the words of Proverbs 21:1, “The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.” Are we praying for government leadership as we ought, or do we complain about their leadership?
We also have the responsibility of “rendering to Caesar,” in other words, believers are to pay their taxes. In fact, we are to obey all laws established by government unless the law violates the commands of God’s Word. It is only in the cases of when the law of the land violates the law of God that we can say with the apostles, "We ought to obey God rather than men."
Those that have the privilege of being United States citizens have a unique privilege and responsibility. In our government “of the people, by the people, for the people,” we the people have a responsibility to preserve the liberties and freedoms we enjoy for future generations. This means we have the responsibility to know the stand of candidates and to go to the polls and vote. Statistics show many Christians are not registered to vote, and many who are registered did not vote. God tells us in Proverbs 29:2, "When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn." If you are not voting for righteous candidates, you are voting for hard times.
Another responsibility of the United States citizen is to speak on issues and hold elected officials accountable. I understand it seems overwhelming to follow leaders at all levels of government, but the preservation of freedom for our children is worth the effort. It really is not as hard as you may think. Much of the information is available online. Here is an example of the North Carolina's General Assembly site. Sites like this provide a wealth of factual information. Writing letters, sending emails, and visiting legislators makes an impact. In fact, one State representative said five to ten calls, emails, or visits on one issue will get the attention of a legislator.
Some believers have the attitude that government and Christianity do not mix. Others feel the Nation is too far gone to do anything to help. These are defeated attitudes that Satan wants you to believe. In Luke 19, Jesus gives a parable of a nobleman that commanded his servants to "occupy till I come." In this same parable the nobleman judged the servants that did not obey. Yes, Jesus is coming and it may be soon, but that is not a reason to give up and stand idly by; rather it is motivation to occupy till he comes. We will stand before Christ someday and give an account of our lives including how we influenced our government, as well as our witness for Him.
I ask all born-again believers to consider the dual citizenship we have, and ensure we are fulfilling our responsibilities. You can combine your responsibilities by sharing the Gospel with your elected officials and take time to pray with them and for them. Let us occupy till Jesus comes!