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Citizenship

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By Keith Stewart

1 Peter 2:11-17
The Bible talks about our duties as citizens. In fact, every Christian has dual citizenship. The word conduct that is used in 1 Peter 2:11-17 and several times in Philippians denotes our behavior, citizenship, and conduct in the world.
*Philippians 3:20 says that our citizenship is in heaven.
* 1 Peter 1:15-16 says that our conduct is to be holy.
* 1 Peter 2:12 says that our conversation is to be honest.    Citizenship is defined as a relationship between an individual and a state in which an individual owes allegiance to that state and in turn is entitled to its protection. Citizenship implies the status of freedom with accompanying responsibilities. Citizens have certain rights, duties, and responsibilities.
In general, full political rights, including the right to vote and to hold public office, are predicated upon citizenship. The usual responsibilities of citizenship are allegiance, taxation, and military service (Encyclopedia Britannica).
I am more concerned about whether you are a Christian than I am about your political affiliation. I am very concerned for the Lord’s honor and His righteousness to prevail in our society.
Proverbs 14:34 reads, “Righteousness exalts a nation and sin is a reproach to any people.”    
How can you as a Christian be a good citizen?
First, recognize the role of government in our nation. The role of government is to punish evildoers and praise those who do good. I do not know about you, but I wish that government would do more to recognize good citizens that do well, than to praise those who do wrong.
The role of government is to promote civil order. A system of government is for the purpose of having order in society. Without it, we would have chaos. We all understand the need to function with order. Government is to be a restraint against rebellion
The role of government is to defend the state. It is the responsibility of government to help people secure and maintain their freedoms.
Second, you should align yourself with the will of God. The will of God is to do good that you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.    
 Jesus taught that the believer had a responsibility to be both salt and light in this world (Matt. 5:13-16). As light we are to speak or spread the truth and as salt we are to preserve the truth by the way that we live. Our motivation for being a preserving influence and good citizen in society is for the sake of our Lord and Savior that when the worldly people see our good works in Christ, they are put to shame.
It is critical for us as Christians to do well. Did you know that every one of the first 119 colleges and universities in America were founded by Christians? Harvard was 100 years old before it had a professor who was not an ordained minister of the Gospel of Christ. Dartmouth was started as a missionary outreach to Indians. Brown was the first Baptist College in America. Of the 40,000 college graduates in America before the War Between the States, 10,000 entered the gospel ministry.
Third, you should participate as a God-fearing citizen. Participate as a God-fearing citizen by praying for people in authority. We try on a regular basis to pray for our leaders in our world, not just spiritual leaders, but also government figures because no one can influence them like the Lord.
Participate as a God-fearing citizen by exercising your rights and exert Christian values in your sphere of influence. While I am convinced that we live in the greatest country on the face of the earth I also recognize that the direction of our country has changed over the years.
We are facing some critical and decisive issues in our nation and we must work to the end of seeing God’s will be done in the decisions that we face.
Keith Stewart is pastor of Morriston Baptist Church.