Saturday, June 06, 2015

Identity in Christ - 25 (Fellow Citizen)

At one time, God chose to demonstrate his nature, to invite people into relationship with him, through the nation of Israel. Israel was given his revelation, his promises, his mission, his commission as his agents.

The Bible documents how Israel moved to "least favored nation" status with God. Not that God hates them. God loves them as he loves all people and nation. But Israel consistently chose not to follow God.

God gives limits to move people to live in congruence to their design. Israel consistently went beyond those limits. So, God apparently changed his plan, and chose a different "group" to fulfill his mission.

(Some would argue that God was not caught by surprise, and using an international family was his plan all along. Certainly, Jesus was his plan. And Jesus was an Israelite. So, God still used the nation to provide the Messiah.)

  • God's Perspective
Israel, like many people groups, had an us/them identification. "Us" was Israel. "Them" was everyone else, or the gentiles. There was a definite separation of the groups in Israel's thinking.

Then, Jesus came. He tore down the walls. He made one people. He created a new family. His family. And everyone in his family had access to his revelation, his promises, his resources, his presence. Everyone in his family had a part in his mission.

More, the Spirit of God used to "come on" his servants. He would empower people to live for him "temporarily". Astounding work and miracles were done. Then nothing. Now, the Spirit dwells with people. There is potential for works all the time. There is a sin-wall that blocks the Spirit from flowing from a person's heart into the world. God's work in the lives of his family to weaken, break down and dissolve that wall. Eventually, there is breakthrough, and God's Spirit flows unchecked into the world.
  • Living My Life
The word for "fellow citizen" in the original language means "possessing the same citizenship with others." It is in contrast with two other words: strangers and aliens. "Strangers" refers to "no knowledge, no share." "Aliens" refers to "living in or near, but without rights." So, as citizens, we have knowledge, a share and rights.

We are one of God's people, God's family, God's chosen. We have intimate access. We have the right to request resources, and should expect to receive resources. We can use the "family car." We are the Father's favorite. We have his attention and concern 24 x 7 x 365. Every minute of the day. Any time. Any place. Nothing is too trivial.

No doubt many reading this are concerned that some will spend the riches of God on the mundane, the trivial, or the sinful, even.

Remember, our original design was to be like Jesus. When we gave our allegiance to Jesus, he gives us citizenship, puts us in his family and puts his Spirit in our hearts. And the Spirit works to break down the sin-wall around our hearts. We were designed to be holy. We were designed to love. The Spirit works to unlock our lives to live as we were designed. And sin is not according to spec. Sin goes against our design. Putting the resources of heaven in our hands should be like putting them in Jesus' hands. Sin only brings loss and death. Grace brings love, joy ... and yes, holiness.

No comments: