Patriotism Is Not Even Close To Being The Highest Virtue

Soon after I became a Christian I had a conversation with a youth pastor. July Fourth was coming up and he said that he thought patriotism was very Godly. I asked, “What about citizens in Nazi Germany?”

“Ummm … so maybe not always,” he said.

I said, “Maybe not always even here in the United States.”

Dual Citizenship

Don’t get me wrong. I know I am so blessed to live here, and that there are a lot of worse places to live in this world. I’m glad to be here. On top of that, it’s biblical to be under the authority of earthly rulers and act accordingly. (See, for example, Mark 12:13-17, Romans 13:1-7 and Titus 3:1.)

But we should not think that this is the ultimate good. As Jesus told Pilate when facing earthly judgment:

My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place. (John 18:36.)

Paul explained that for those who belong to Jesus, our citizenship too is in heaven with our Savior Jesus. (Philippians 3:20.) That is good news for us all, and it gets even better – if that is possible.

Because did you notice that word “now” in Jesus’ statement to Pilate? “But now,” he said, “my kingdom is from another place.” Jesus qualified his statement because in the future he’s going to bring heaven and earth together into a single kingdom:

The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 11:15.)

So it turns out we can love our earthly home eternally and above all others. And it’s all because of Jesus.

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13 Responses to Patriotism Is Not Even Close To Being The Highest Virtue

  1. Aimee Byrd says:

    I do look forward to that day when I can trade my dual citizenship to the one, holy kingdom of the new heaven and earth.

    • Tim says:

      I truly appreciate that of all the places on this planet I could live in, I live here in the U.S. There are so many places where life is nowhere near as good. But I’m like you, Aimee. I’m looking forward to living in the place where life is best!

  2. It’s when I’m living overseas that I think I appreciate America’s virtues the most. Except when I spend a whole summer chilling at an amazing German public pool, stopping off for some bratwurst and dark beer afterward, and riding home on my bike on SAFE bike paths. I was almost ready to hand in my passport. Well, not really. 😉

    • Tim says:

      I now what you mean. When I was living in England, I loved every minute of it. But I’m not ready to move back permanently, even though there are some aspects of the life there that are superior to what we have here in the States. I like living right here in sunny (and presently HOT) California.

  3. michellevl says:

    YES!

    I am grateful for this country that has been a refuge for many tired, poor people yearning to be free (thank you Emma Lazarus) – but I am with you on the issue of patriotism and allegiance.

    • Tim says:

      Thanks Michelle. I too am so grateful for Lazarus’ words. She set the bar high for us Americans when it comes to welcoming people to our wonderful country.

  4. Jeannie says:

    Happy Fourth of July to you, Tim, and all your American readers. For me, I’m very happy and proud to live in Canada — it’s the only place for me! — but you’re right, there is a higher calling than our earthly citizenship. This post reminded me of a great scene in Chariots of Fire when Eric Liddell gets called before the Olympic committee over his decision not to run on Sunday. One of the members says crustily, “In my day, it was Queen first and God second.” And another replies, “Yes, and the War to End all Wars bitterly proved your point.”

  5. But now means that when Jesus was there, He was establishing His kingdom on earth and we as His people from His kingdom are to bring that about peacefully by spreading the gospel so that one day Jesus can come and set all right and the kingdom of heaven will come and meet earth as one in completion. I am so excited about that. Also I love that you used the verse that Jesus said to Pilate, because Rob and I adore the verse for many reasons.
    I also agree with your statement to the youth pastor. Hitler actually believed he was bringing along the kingdom of God by oppressing the Jews who wouldn’t accept Jesus as God. Isn’t that the twisted part about it? He thought he was doing right and missed the gospel completely. He made his own gospel and made Germany an idol of worship so that all would serve it. Anyway, I think all nations believe they are doing what they believe is right and miss what Samuel warned everyone about why you shouldn’t want someone to rule over you other than God and why it would be a bad idea to have a king. . .and I think the people in our nation who created the US missed that too.

    • Tim says:

      I think the Old Testament Israelites missed that too, Victoria. Under the New Covenant, of course, we are no longer called to live in countries established like Israel was. We now await Christ’s return, as you say. I don’t think we are called to do anything to bring that about peacefully, though, since the Bible actually says things will keep getting worse and worse until Jesus finally comes to make things right. And like you, I’m excited about that too!

      • I meant peacefully as in going to nations and showing Christ’s love to others even if they aren’t going to be peaceful in return, for the gospel is to be spread in that way. So yes, I agree that it will keep getting worse and worse (since it says people will run to the mountains to hide and want to die, etc). I am sure you know what I mean.

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