By Leonard Lauriault
As Independence Day approaches, we’ll hear a lot about American freedom and patriotism. Our nation is the greatest on earth largely because of our ethnically diverse population, the natural resources God provided, and the freedoms we enjoy.
Over time, though, our freedoms have eroded due in part to moral decline and terrorism. So, we must put up with inconveniences beyond paying taxes, like passing through security checkpoints at the airport, but those should just remind us that freedom doesn’t come without cost, including human life (Romans 13:1-7). In fact, as of May 2015, the number of Americans dying in war to defend our freedoms totaled 1,196,554 (http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/many-americans-died-u-s-wars/). Currently, just under 1 percent of the American population is in active military service or the reserves to defend American freedoms world-wide besides police and fire personnel who risk their lives to protect us from dangers within and about 2 percent of Americans work in farming, ranching, or agricultural support industries to maintain the safest, most secure food supply in the world.
The Bible says a lot about freedoms for Christians, the citizens of the greatest nation in the Universe (Philippians 3:20-21; Colossians 1:13-14; Hebrews 12:22-29; 11:13-16). First, though, we can have dual citizenship in the USA and God’s kingdom allowing us to serve both God and country, in that order (1 Peter 2:13-17; Acts 5:29-32; Matthew 19:29). Freedom to worship God according to his word is an American freedom because “Congress shall make no law respecting establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof (Amendment I of the Constitution of the United States of America).”
Regarding our Christian freedoms, we’re still sinners, but as citizens of the heavenly kingdom we’re freed from the eternal consequences of sin (Romans 3:23; 6:23, 3-7; Acts 2:38-39; 1 John 1:5-9; John 8:31-36). Additionally, we’re free from the burden of man-made religious laws (Galatians 5:1-4; Colossians 2:6-23). God’s requirements for citizenship in his eternal kingdom aren’t burdensome being based in a simple, obedient faith (1 John 5:1-5; Acts 19:1-5; 16:30-34, 14-15; 8:35-39). Once we’re in his kingdom, we’re to study God’s word to find out what pleases him and he never asks more of us than we can handle (Ephesians 5:8-17; Colossians 3:1-17; Matthew 7:21-23; Mark 14:1-8).
Nonetheless, we’re to be careful to avoid thinking that God’s grace allows us to do whatever we want without retribution (Galatians 5:13; 1 Peter 2:16). Additionally, we must always remember that, as with our American freedom, our Christian freedom came at great cost (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Acts 20:28; Matthew 20:28).
As dual citizens living in America, Christians don’t renounce our American citizenship, but we do expose and renounce the shameful things that are happening. We’re concerned for our country because of the moral decline and pray for America and her leaders so we won’t lose the freedoms we have and so we can maintain our status as the most prosperous country on earth (1 Timothy 2:1-6; Jeremiah 29:4-7, 11).
Is America on your personal prayer list? That’s patriotic!
Leonard Lauriault is a member of the Church of Christ in Logan. Contact him at email@example.com