The citizenship crisis in your home
Do you know if you belong to another place?
The dual citizenship crisis that has been sweeping Federal Parliament this year poses the question: Can we be exclusively loyal to Australia while holding entitlement to another nation’s citizenship?
It also prompts another question: Are Christians potentially subversive? After all, life for a Christian is always a tale of dual citizenship. As our loyalty is to Jesus, we are first and foremost citizens of heaven.
Believers are, in a sense, refugees on this planet.
While our citizenship and final authority is in heaven, our vocation is lived out on earth. We have been given great commissions to act as both citizens of heaven and earth.
We know all are made in the image of God. We know believers, as our fellow citizens, are invited to surrender loyalty to our King Jesus in exchange for exclusive nationalism or tribal boundaries.
We are commanded to love God and to love our neighbours. We are told we are saved by grace, not works, and yet we are commanded to actively care for all our brothers and sisters.
It’s a paradox. Martin Luther declared, “A Christian man is the most free lord of all, and subject to none; a Christian man is the most dutiful servant of all, and subject to everyone.”
As Christians we know the limits of worldly politics and look instead to heavenly powers for our redemption and fulfilment.
Believers are, in a sense, refugees on this planet. We subject ourselves to the governing authorities of our nation but our priorities and the basis of our trust are heavenly.
One day we will have only one citizenship.
We are here to proclaim the kingdom. Christians know they need God’s grace. None of us can be “good enough” to get to heaven. As Mark Twain said: “If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.”
Our greatest gift as Christians is freedom from fear. Paul says the peace of Christ should rule in our hearts. It is a gift of our heavenly citizenship, which is available to all.
While here, we share Abraham’s experience, living “like a stranger in a foreign country … looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” (Heb 11:9-10)
In faith, we consider what the world offers and what the promises of God offer. We know that, in another time, we will walk in the City of God where perfect justice and perfect love reside.
One day we will have only one citizenship. In the meantime, we are here to bless and be blessed.
Tim Costello is chief advocate of World Vision Australia.