The title of this column may raise the questions: Am I a citizen of the Unites States of America (USA)? Am I a citizen of the United Kingdom? Was I born somewhere else? How is it that The Bahamas could be my secondary and not my primary citizenship?
For the record, I was born in The Bahamas, and although I have schooled, lived and worked in the USA, I have never been a citizen of the USA. The next logical question would be, what other country could be my country of primary citizenship?
To answer this question, we have to look at the words of Jesus. Jesus said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot enter the kingdom (country) of heaven”. What is he saying? He is saying that no matter what country we were physically born into, this second birth causes us to become citizens of another country and this country trumps all others because it is God’s country. I am sure this makes no sense to some people, especially those unaware of what Jesus claimed, or who believe that we are cosmic accidents and not created beings. Whether it makes sense to you or not, one thing that cannot be denied is that Jesus insisted that the primary citizenship allegiance for those who believe is what we refer to as the kingdom of God.
When you enter the kingdom of God it becomes your primary citizenship. Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God”. He also said we should put the kingdom before family, country, husband, wife and everything else. He even went as far as to say his family are the people who do what he commanded rather than those he was biologically connected to.
The Bible also states in several passages that we are “ambassadors”, “aliens”, “sojourners”, “pilgrims”, and “transients” in a sense. The Bible also states in the book of Philippians that our citizenship is in Heaven rather than on Earth.
In the book of Corinthians, we are referred to as ambassadors and diplomats, meaning we represent a foreign country in the country we physically live in. When you are an ambassador or diplomat you live in a country, but you represent the values and principles of another country – your country of origin or primary citizenship. When there is a conflict between the two you side with the country of your primary citizenship. This is why the Bible tells us to, “Be in the world but not of the world”.
We live in The Bahamas, but our primary citizenship is the kingdom of God and its principles and laws supersede those of our country of residence.
Make no mistake, I love The Bahamas. I am a patriot and I obey its laws unless they conflict with the laws of my primary citizenship. The title of this article may seem contradictory but when you understand what Jesus said and the principles of the kingdom it becomes very obvious and plain that this all makes very logical sense in context.
Why would I have another country as my primary citizenship? It’s because I call myself a Christian, subscribe to the teachings of Jesus and believe the gospel (good news) of the kingdom that Jesus preached and lived. I am a personal beneficiary of this gospel as my life was transformed, changed, improved and gotten dramatically better. I was also rescued, delivered and brought out of the darkness I was living in and no other country has done that for me, so I am forever grateful and loyal to my country of second birth and first allegiance.
As we enter what is known as Holy Week, this brings into focus again the alarming statements and pronouncements of Jesus and causes us to be confronted about what we believe and who we believe in. Are we cosmic accidents or created beings? If we believe we are created beings, then the mandates of the creator leave us with no other choice than to subscribe to and adhere to his principles; and he clearly has stated that we are primary citizens of the kingdom of God and our earthly citizenship is secondary.
• Pastor Dave Burrows is senior pastor at Bahamas Faith Ministries International. Feel free to email comments, whether you agree or disagree, to email@example.com. I appreciate your input and dialogue. We become better when we discuss, examine and exchange.