We are discussing how we are members, citizens of a new Kingdom. We are no longer foreigners, either. A foreigner is different than a stranger. A foreigner may be very familiar with the country they live in; they may have lived there for years and may be fully acquainted with the possibilities it has. However, he is limited. He is all alien; he has no ultimate rights. He is living on a passport. He is an alien; he has no ultimate rights. He is living on a passport. He does not have a birth certificate that would make him a citizen of that land.
This fits many of the people who sit in our churches. Sure, they attend regularly, sometimes put a donation in the offering plate and even reads their Bible sometimes, and are familiar with the hymns. They could have been raised in a Christian family, and the language of Christianity is very familiar to them, but they have never given their life to Jesus. They remain as a foreigner to His Kingdom. Which is why they are not permitted to enter into the full rights of a citizen of His land.
However, Paul says that those who have come to Christ are no longer strangers and foreigners. Well then, what are they? Paul uses three things, three figures to describe them: First, they are “fellow citizens with the saints.” That is a great phrase. It captures the idea of a new kingdom — they have entered a new kingdom. They have changed their citizenship, and have come under another authority.
Let me give you an Earthly example. Most of you reading this study are American citizens. We often take for granted the rights of American citizenship and have certainly almost forgotten the responsibilities of being American citizens and the fact that we are under authority. Because we are Americans, the government has certain powers over us. It regulates certain areas of our life (whether we like it or not). We are under certain controls, and if we do certain things the government can step in and actually take our freedom from us. We are under the Government’s authority — that is the first sign of our citizenship.
As I have pointed out before, the Scriptures recognize two kingdoms in this world. First, of course, we belong to a nation of the earth, with their temporal authority. But there are also, two spiritual kingdoms. And every one of us belongs to one or the other. As Paul says, either the power of Satan or the power of God. One or the other has ultimate dominion over our lives.
When we become a Christian, we move out of the kingdom of Satan and are united to the kingdom of God. Ooh boy, what a change that is! There is a basic change of government, of the ultimate rule in a person’s life. Jesus often spoke of the kingdom he came to bring among men. He said, “I am a king, but my kingdom is not of this world” John 18:36-37), by which he meant that it is not like any of the nations of the earth. His kingship is over the hearts of men. However, it is a kingdom; it has authority over men. When we come into Yahweh’s kingdom, we come under a new authority, a new king, a new head. We are no longer under the bondage and power of the other. What a transformation this is!
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