The citizens of the United States who were born here, naturalized here, or given birth to citizens of this country outside of the United States are called Americans. As an American, each of us have the rights that are guaranteed by the Bill of Rights: freedom of religion, speech, assembly, press, and petition, right to keep and bear arms, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures, no quartering of soldiers in any house without the consent of the owner, the right to due process of law, the right to a speedy trial…that’s who Americans are as a nation. Outside of the United Nations building in New York City, flags from all the nations of the world fly majestically.
Did you know as Christians we are citizens of another nation? 1 Peter 2:9&10 explains, “you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” Let’s look further into this nation:
- Its citizens have placed their “trust in him (and) will never be put to shame” (1 Peter 2:6). All of us have become “naturalized” citizens by the shed blood of Jesus.
- Its citizens are “a royal priesthood.” Until Jesus died on the cross, only the high priest could be in the presence of God. There was a curtain between the holy of holies and others denying access. When Jesus died on the cross having shed His blood for each of us, “At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (Matthew 27:51). This means that each of us as believers in Jesus have 24X7 priesthood access to God Himself. 1 John 1:7 states our priesthood beautifully, “if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”
- Its citizens are “holy”. Jesus’ blood cleansed each citizen of sin past, present and future. God looks through the grace and mercy of His Son and judges us not guilty meaning we are holy in His eyes. 1 Peter 1:15 states, “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” We are called to live holy lives in the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Its citizens are “His special possession.”We recognize the price that God paid for us. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
- Its citizens are full of praise. “Declare the praises of him who called (them) out of darkness into his wonderful light.” “God is holy, enthroned in the praises of (His people)” Psalm 22:3.
- Its citizens never forget His mercy. “Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
We as believers in Jesus are citizens of a holy nation. Now, God wants each of us to “set (our) minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:2).