Kingdom Citizenship: Rights & Responsibilities

 Photo by  Brett Neilson

Photo by Brett Neilson

If you check out my last blog in the Kingdom Series, you’ll see that I believe that thinking of ourselves as citizens of the Kingdom of God is the best way to understand living the Christian life. In this blog, I am going to process what that looks like practically. I believe that Jesus used this Kingdom of God language to help us understand that we are citizens of his Kingdom, not the world we see around us. Our job therefore is to live like we are already in the completed Kingdom of God, even though we inhabit this one. 

Being a citizen of a country brings with it certain rights and responsibilities. For instance, to be an American Citizen, you are expected to observe these:

Rights:

Freedom to express yourself.
Freedom to worship as you wish.
Right to a prompt, fair trial by jury.
Right to vote in elections for public officials.
Right to apply for federal employment requiring U.S. citizenship.
Right to run for elected office.
Freedom to pursue “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Responsibilities:

Support and defend the Constitution.
Stay informed of the issues affecting your community.
Participate in the democratic process.
Respect and obey federal, state, and local laws.
Respect the rights, beliefs, and opinions of others.
Participate in your local community.
Pay income and other taxes honestly, and on time, to federal, state, and local authorities.
Serve on a jury when called upon.
Defend the country if the need should arise.1

Here are some cool ways that citizenship is a great way of explaining Christianity:
Most people are citizens by virtue of someone else’s work.
Jesus provides the ability to become citizens of the Kingdom.
These rights do not have to be exercised for citizenship to be upheld.
Many believers fail to exercise all the rights the Kingdom affords us.
A failure to uphold the responsibilities does not constitute a loss of citizenship.
Salvation is not lost based on our sin.
Many of these rights and responsibilities form the basis for how we understand humanity.
The Kingdom is the basis for how we should understand humanity

So what rights and responsibilities should we have as citizens of the Kingdom? All of Scripture should serve as our citizenship handbook, but here are some examples to get you started:

Live as if the Kingdom has come about and watch how God brings it about around you.