October 23, 2005Email to a FriendPrint
In Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. Ephesians 2:13
A man from an English-speaking country who was visiting Rome supposedly said that he enjoyed the sights, then added, "What I don't like is that there are so many foreigners here." He meant the regular inhabitants.
Every country, of course, has foreigners in its midst. Their presence is sometimes requested, unless they are tourists who bring business and then return home.
First-century Christians in the Roman Empire were regarded as disloyal and dangerous because they refused to offer incense to the deified Roman emperor. They were regarded as obnoxious foreigners. But it was all a mistake. Christ and the apostles taught their followers to be obedient, tax-paying citizens, rendering to Caesar what was his. They must, however, obey God rather than man when the government enacts laws contrary to God's Word.
While functioning as good citizens in the land, Christians are always citizens of a kingdom that supersedes all kingdoms: the kingdom of Jesus Christ. This latter is a kingdom of grace in which sins are forgiven to all who have faith in Christ, the Reconciler. It is a kingdom in which all believers, regardless of their station in the world, are equal. They are "fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone" (Ephesians 2:19-20). This kingdom of grace, also called the holy Christian church, the communion of saints, blends into the kingdom of glory, heaven. It is as the hymn writer states, "The saints on earth and those above but one communion make."
Christians are brothers and sisters in Christ. They are one. No one will claim, here in Christendom on earth nor in heaven above, as the visitor in Rome supposedly did, "There are too many foreigners here." All are fellow citizens in Christ's kingdom.
PRAYER: O Holy Spirit enlighten me on the privileges and obligations of my membership in Christ's kingdom. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)