A Foot in Both Worlds

Christians are in an odd predicament.  We each have one foot in two different worlds. 

 

We belong to another time and another place.  We are citizens of heaven according to Philippians 3:21.  That’s where our ultimate loyalty and identity lie.  But we are also simultaneously citizens of an earthly kingdom.  I am a citizen of the United States of America.  Others in our church family are citizens of another earthly country. Some hold dual citizenship in the United States and elsewhere.  We ultimately belong to heaven but we are now pilgrims on this earth.  We have a foot in both worlds and must walk thusly.

 

What this means is that I am to trust in Christ alone to bring lasting peace TO this earth while I devote significant stewardship to seeking temporary peace ON this earth.  Only Jesus can meet the eternal needs of the lost; I must never try to usurp his lordship in this case. But I should be dedicated to helping alleviate the temporary needs of my neighbor.  I must obey Jesus’s lordship in this case.  James says this is a faith that actually works.  It’s no good to say I believe in Christ and at the same time do nothing to help my neighbor. But neither can I do anything to meet my neighbor’s deepest need.

 

Only the eternal reign of Christ will usher in true and lasting justice.  But I must be committed to temporary justice as much as I am personally capable.  For this reason, I can both pray for my enemies and use force to protect my family from a home intruder.  Lethal force, if necessary.  I can simultaneously pray for the salvation of those who persecute believers and unreservedly embrace a just war against them, if it is truly just.  As a citizen of heaven I pray. As a citizen of an earthly nation, I fight.  I say this as my daughter, Jami comes home from a mission trip and then in five days is deployed as a member of the USAF.

 

Augustine said that believers are members of both the city of this world and the city of God. We must learn to trust Christ for what only he can do while we serve Christ with all that he has given to us.  It can be a bit challenging to work through it all at times, but our citizenships demand it.