If you read your calendar, today is declared “Citizenship Day.” You may ask, “What does that mean?” As an American and a Christian, it has two (2) meanings. Below is an excerpt from our first book in the Give God the Glory! series to add clarity to the significance of citizenship:
(1) American citizenship
Our nationality, citizenship, and sense of belonging are usually determined by birth. By the fact that we were born in the United States of America (U.S.), we are “Americans.” We enjoy certain rights and benefits under the Constitution of the U. S. as drafted and adopted by this country’s forefathers in the 17th century. Further, the 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, known as the “Bill of Rights” guarantee certain freedoms to American citizens in which the U.S. Constitution itself had been silent.
The U.S. “Bill of Rights”
During the debates on the adoption of the U.S. Constitution, its opponents charged that as drafted, it would open the way to tyranny by the central government. These opponents demanded a “bill of rights” that would spell out the immunities of individual citizens. Thus, several states asked for such amendments while other states ratified the U.S. Constitution with the understanding that the amendments would be offered.
On September 25, 1789, the First Congress of the U.S. proposed to the state legislatures 12 amendments that met the arguments most frequently advanced against it. Ironically, the first 2 were not ratified, however, articles 3 through 12 were and constitute what we know today as the “Bill of Rights” – the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution. A brief synopsis of the amendments to the U.S. Constitution (The “Bill of Rights”) are as follows:
Article I – Freedom of speech, religion, press, petition and assembly.
Article II – Right to bear arms and militia.
Article III – Quartering of soldiers.
Article IV – Warrants and searches.
Article V – Individual debt and double jeopardy.
Article VI – Speedy trial, witnesses and accusations.
Article VII – Right for a jury trial.
Article VIII – Bail and fines.
Article IX – Existence of other rights for the people.
Article X – Power reserved to the states and people.
(2) Christian citizenship
As Christians, we also have covenant “rights.” We have a right to:
A relationship with God (Romans 5:1-2)
Fellowship with God (1 Corinthians 1:9-10)
Abundant life (John 10:10)
The peace of God (John 16:33), and
Live a successful Christian and natural life (3 John 2).
By faith in Jesus, we are born again. We are now citizens of the city of the living God, heavenly Jerusalem, and our names are registered in heaven (Hebrews 12:22-23). We have been translated from the power of darkness (our old ways) into His marvelous kingdom (by salvation) and we now have a new covenant (a legal and binding agreement) which contains all of the covenant rights and benefits that we are to enjoy.
“[The Father] has delivered and [a]drawn us to Himself out of the control and the dominion of darkness and has transferred us into the kingdom of the Son [b]of His love.” – Colossians 1:13 Amplified
“Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.”
– Colossians 1:13 KJV
These rights and benefits are expressly written in the Books of Romans through Jude (New Testament). The Book of Romans, written by Paul, is placed first among the thirteen (13) epistles in the New Testament. This Book explores the significance of the sacrificial death of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jude, last among the 13 epistles, encourages us to have faith in God and to fight against our spiritual enemies regarding that faith. The Book of Galatians, which is one of the 13 epistles, is the Christian’s “Declaration of Independence.”
A giant step toward knowing, accepting, and walking confidently in our rights and benefits as Christians is to know The Holy Bible and to not be ashamed of the truth as it revealed through the Holy Spirit.
“To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
– 1 Peter 1:4-5 KJV
“ and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. 5 And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.”
– 1 Peter 1:4-5 NLT