Understanding Biblical Dual Citizenship

What does dual citizenship mean? Glad you asked! Dual citizenship means that an individual is an active citizen of two countries and shares in the responsibilities and privileges of both. The most common ways dual citizenship is achieved is by, for example, being born in the United States to immigrant parents. Or, being born outside of the United States and having one parent who is an American citizen and the other parent being a citizen of another country.

With that said, did you know there is another way to receive dual citizenship? The Bible says in Philippians 3:20, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (NASB95). No matter what country you live in, if you have been made alive with Christ by grace through faith alone, you have become a citizen of heaven, even now, and are called to live in a manner worthy of this citizenship as a representative of the kingdom of God (Philippians 1:27).

Regarding my life, I am a citizen of the United States of America. I have been born and raised in this nation and seek to abide by its laws and governance. However, I am also a citizen of heaven as I have come to know the Lord Jesus Christ by faith. The question then is, How are we as Christians to live and understand our responsibilities and privileges as citizens of our country but also of heaven?

Living as a Dual Citizen

The Bible is clear on how we are to conduct ourselves as citizens of our country and citizens of heaven. Romans 13 informs us that we are to be subject to our governing authorities, for all authority is from God and is established by God (Romans 13:1). Christians are to respect, pray, support, and celebrate righteous and good governance with a joyful heart (Ephesians 6:5-6). We are to obey our government leaders insofar that they are governing in the authority God has granted and are not calling us to obey what would be disobedient to God (Acts 4:19-20).

As citizens of heaven, we must remember that our heavenly citizenship is greater than our earthly citizenship for our heavenly citizenship is eternal. As citizens of heaven and our nation, we are first citizens of the kingdom of God and submit ultimately to the authority of God above all things. Jesus is our King and we live and die in obedience to Him and not in obedience to our earthly masters. As a Christian living in America, my ultimate hope is not in Capitol Hill or the person in the Oval Office–my hope is in the One seated at the right hand of God the Father who is working all things according to His sovereign will (Ephesians 1).

Dangers of Mixing our Dual Citizenship

There is a great danger when we begin to confuse or mix our citizenship. On January 6th of 2021, the whole world saw this dangerous confusion on full display. Rioters, and what I believe to be domestic terrorists, invaded the nation’s capitol–many doing so in the name of Jesus. I saw American citizens who claimed the name of Christ rushing into the capitol to inflict violence while waiving flags that said “Jesus saves.” How did people who claim the name of Christ ever get this confused on how they ought to respond to national government?

I believe that there are at least 12 main reasons for this sinful confusion:

  1. We take our eyes off Christ and look to a political leader as our Savior.
  2. We get more excited about people lining up with our political views than believing in the gospel.
  3. We share our political views more than we do the gospel.
  4. We believe our political views are the gospel.
  5. We believe the kingdom of God is an earthly kingdom and not a heavenly one.
  6. We believe Jesus is a republican or democrat.
  7. We believe Jesus favors our nation above every other nation.
  8. We believe that Jesus has promised national prosperity.
  9. We believe conversion is no longer about repentance and faith in Christ but political allegiance to a party or specific policies.
  10. We have less in common with a brother or sister in Christ and more in common with a person who shares our political views.
  11. We believe the only way to fight injustice and corruption is by picking up the sword (or gun) (Matthew 26:52).
  12. We believe prayer to be largely ineffective due to a small view of God and a big view of man (i.e., God has no sovereign rule or control over all things that come to pass).

Moving Forward as a Citizen of America and a Citizen of Heaven

As a Christian and a citizen of heaven first and foremost, the Constitution is not my ultimate guide for morality, faith, and practice; it is God’s Word. The president is not the most powerful and sovereign person in my life–it is the second Person of the Trinity, the King of kings and Lord of lords. America is not my eternal home and the place I long to abide in. Heaven is.

Yet, as an American citizen I take pride in what is good and righteous in my country. I love and pray for my country. I do not dismiss the sins of my country and make excuses for them. I call what is right good and what is wrong evil (Isaiah 5:20). And when I see injustice and wickedness sweep my country, I do not take matters into my own hands and dismiss the providence and sovereign rule of my God; I hit my knees and pray to the One who is in control of all things, even my country, and I long for the day when God will redeem not just this land but the entire world and make all things new in a way a politician never can (Psalm 115:3; Revelation 21).

Because I am a citizen of heaven and not just a citizen of America, my hope rests in Christ alone; not as my political Savior, but the Savior of my life who lived the life I never could, died in my place on the cross, and rose from the grave defeating sin and death and securing for me a sure salvation. Do not forget, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20, NASB95).

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