4 Ways To Use The Advantages of American Citizenship
But when they had stretched him out for the whips, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, “Is it lawful for you to flog a man who is a Roman citizen and uncondemned?” – Acts 22:25
While Paul’s identity was firmly grounded in his conviction that he was a citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20), he also knew he was a citizen of Rome, and he used every advantage that citizenship afforded him to accomplish the things he knew Jesus had called him to.
I’m convinced that if Paul were an American citizen in our day, he would use every advantage his American citizenship would give him, because of the sacrifice of so many and the sovereignty of God, to accomplish the things Jesus would have for him in our time, in our country, in our place in redemptive history.
I’m convinced Paul would use every advantage of his American citizenship to:
By God’s grace, in America, we have the freedom to freely worship because we have freedom of religion, given to us by God and guaranteed by the first amendment of the constitution – “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”
Freedom of religion gives us the right, and opportunity, to practice our religion in private and in public, without the threat of government interference or oppression.
As Christian-Americans, we can, and should, use our freedom of religion to worship – to both privately and publically acknowledge and affirm the worth of Christ, and to show others what it looks like to worship Christ, in spirit and in truth.
By God’s grace, in America, we also have the freedom to freely assemble because we have freedom of assembly, given as a basic human right and guaranteed by the first amendment of the constitution – “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances …”
Freedom of assembly gives us the right, and the opportunity, to gather together as Christians, both privately and publically, to pursue, promote, proclaim and protect the things we believe together as Christians.
As Christian-Americans, we can, and should, use our freedom of assembly to regularly gather, “not forsaking the gathering of ourselves” – to both privately and publically celebrate our faith in Christ, and invite others to gather and celebrate him with us.
By God’s grace, in America, we likewise have the freedom to freely speak because we have freedom of speech, given as a basic human right and guaranteed by the first amendment of the constitution – “or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press …”
Freedom of speech gives us the right, and opportunity, to talk about our religious beliefs in private and in public, without the threat of government or private censorship.
As Christian-Americans, we can, and should, use our freedom of speech to speak – to both privately and publically proclaim Christ, the Good News of his Gospel, and the incredible blessing and benefits of following him.
By God’s grace, wherever our earthly citizenship may place us, we have the freedom to love. This freedom is not given to us or guaranteed by any government, but by God, through His royal law of love – “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing well.” (James 2:8).
The Law of Love gives us not only the right, but the opportunity and obligation, to do all things in love – to worship in love, to assemble in love, to speak in love – to do all things in a loving way to God, to fellow Christians and to fellow American citizens. This is our greatest freedom.
As Christian-Americans, we can, and should, use our freedom to love – to both privately and publically display the love of Christ, in all things, and to invite others into his love.
How have you used the advantages given to you as an American citizen to accomplish the things Jesus has called you to as a citizen of His Kingdom?