Monday, May 19, 2008

one nation under God

I understand what the motto added to the American "Pledge of Allegiance", "one nation under God" means. It was added during the heighth of the cold war in response to the atheism of the enemy Soviet state. It is an expression of "we are what they are not."

The only problem is that there is no longer any theocratic nation on the face of the earth. Not even present day Israel claims such, as was true of Israel of old. Yet there is a theocracy in the world, and it's certainly not any recognized global nation. I take it that the one theocracy is the church which has as its Lord and head, Jesus, this church scattered throughout the world. In 1 Peter called "a holy nation," and I take that to refer not just to scattered Jewish Christians in exile, living as strangers in the world. I take that to mean all Christians as I think that letter is addressed to Gentile as well as Jewish converts to Jesus.

Therefore it is a mistake to put too much of an emphasis on one's own nation, especially under the notion of thinking it's a Christian nation. The one Christian nation consists of all Jews and Gentiles who put their faith in Jesus as Lord and Messiah. This nation resides all over the earth, in many nations. Not to deny citizenship in those countries, Paul certainly used his Roman citizenship. But just to know where our true identity in Jesus really lies. Not in America or any other country of this earth. Instead we seek a better country, a heavenly one that is to come. A country that exists in Jesus now, on the face of the earth. And is someday to rule the earth under Jesus, but is beginning that presence of Jesus' reign in the kingdom of God present in the world even now. A reign so different than the world. A reign based on Jesus and his work for us, foolish and weak in the eyes of the world, but strong in God to the pulling down of all that stands between it and God's will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Now I may be accused of not being patriotic or whatever. I respect all flag waving Americans and all Christians who proudly serve their country in the military. And there are many great freedoms we enjoy here as Americans that have been bought and kept through American blood, even though some of our military ventures have surely been mistaken from the basis of the Christian just war position of which I'm in doubt. Our allegiance is not to Caesar or any national entity in this world as Lord, but only Jesus as Lord. But a lordship that allows me to live as an American citizen in this world, flag waving or not. And to live out the true identity which we are, in Jesus wherever it may be. Of the truly one nation under God that exists in the world, someday to be evident when God's kingdom in Jesus at last makes known its authority in God's timing over all the earth in judgment and grace.

What might you like to add or subtract from this posting?


Anonymous said...

i believe that i do not even breathe a breath without God. God is everything to me, beyond and above everything. the nations and leaders would not exist unless he allowed it. the flags we might wave only exist because of Him. we owe all to God for all belongs to God and will be His forever.

everything is under God...even those that do not believe in Him.

one world...under God..believe it or not.

preacherman said...

Great post brother.
Keep up the great blogging!

Mike said...

I was told recently about someone attending a July 4th dinner at church. Located in front of every place setting was a card that read, "There's only two people who died for you - Jesus Christ and the American G.I."

I understand the message and even served in the U.S. military. But to equate the death of Jesus Christ with the American soldier is ludicrous!

Great post Ted! Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I love that Peter says we are a holy nation, we rag-tag band of believers scattered around the world. And I love how Paul talks about this citizenship in Phil 3:20 -- "But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ," Keeping our earthly alliances and citizenships in proper perspective can be tricky right now in our bitterly divided country.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Yes, "This is my Father's World". The words of that hymn are great to remember in this context, as well.


Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks. You, too (I need to get over there). Hope you're doing better in your health.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Yes. Such deserve respect and honor. But I agree!

Ted M. Gossard said...

Also Mike, thanks. And nice to have you over. Blessing on you and yours and your ministry.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Amen to all you say! Yes, it is sad when we as Christians can't talk over political differences. Our country is bitterly divided. But we need Christians and Christian input on both sides.

But yes, so wonderful. The commonality and community we have all over the world with other believers, and the wonderful inheritance we all have to look forward to in Jesus.

Hope you're feeling better. Thanks for your comment and great to see your new posting today.