Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Here We Have No Lasting City

I read this article on the Gospel Coalition this morning and thought it was really good, and timely, with both Memorial Day and 4th of July around the corner:  First and Foremost Citizens of Heaven.  An excerpt:  

"We must not idolize our nation or forget the multinational character of the body of Christ. He has ransomed his church from every nation, tribe, and tongue. Rather than boast in our national pride, let us boast in Christ alone.

We should pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ who live in other nations---even enemy states---as we remember Christians throughout history and even today who have stood against political regimes in order to be faithful to the gospel.

Finally, we should properly honor the men and women who have been killed in service to our country by keeping their service in perspective. We can commemorate their sacrifices made on our behalf without regarding their service as having "paid the ultimate price." The sacrifice of Jesus Christ alone has saved us from sin and death...

We honor our nation in a godly manner by working for Christ's kingdom here on earth. We pray for God's grace to enable us to love our country well by doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly before the Lord (Micah 6:8). And we remember that we belong to a heavenly city whose Builder and Architect is God.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9).
For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come (Hebrews 13:14)."

My citizenship is not of this world.  My allegiance doesn't belong to the United States.  This world is not my home.  Do I act like it?  Do I love the global church of Jesus Christ--does my heart rise to that like it rises to patriotic music and images of a flag?  The church that includes brave women in Muslim countries praying together in secret?  The church that includes jailed pastors in China?  I expect they "get it" more than I do--this world is not our home.

I have family and friends that have endured much for the sake of this country.  Their lives inspire me to hold my own life in open hands, to spend it for something bigger than myself.  I'm grateful. 

But for breath today, for the fact that the sun rose this morning and gravity still works and I didn't wake up in a jail cell and the atoms making up my flesh aren't flying apart--my sovereign God gets the glory for that.  And when I'm tired, poor, huddled, yearning to breathe free, when I'm tempest-tossed and homeless---I will hope in Him alone.  In Christ alone.  Jesus died for me, paid for my soul with his bloodAnd when I die and face the Father, that's the sacrifice that's really going to matter, because it's the one that will dress me in righteousness not my own. I am wretched refuse, but He is a gracious Shore.


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