Naturalization is the process by which citizenship is granted to a lawful, permanent resident when that person has met all the requirements established by the government or kingdom for citizenship. I am a citizen of the kingdom of God. Am I a naturalized citizen or a natural-born citizen?
Natural-Born Citizens of the cosmos
The most common way for a person to become a nation’s citizen is to be born there. When my mother gave birth to me, I became a citizen of the United States of America. At that same instant, or perhaps before, I became a citizen of the cosmos, that is, the world system that sprang forth from satan when he led Adam to sin. We find the cosmos in:
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”1 John 2:15, emphasis added
The word “world” in this verse is the Greek word, κόσμον (kosmon), which is where our word “cosmos” comes from. For example, we find the word cosmos in Matthew 4:8, when satan was tempting Jesus. The passage reads, “Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world [cosmos] and their glory.“
We turn to God as refugees
So, every descendent from Adam is a natural-born citizen of the cosmos, and therefore subject to the judgment which God passed on the citizens of the cosmos – “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23) However, we find our hope in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” So, every descendent of Adam is required to die. And from Hebrews 9:27 we learn, “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,“
These verses should motivate everyone to try to escape God’s punishment destined for every child of Adam. We need to leave our citizenship in the cosmos and seek citizenship in the kingdom of God! Anyone that wants to become a citizen of God’s kingdom must be a natural-born citizen, but only Jesus, when He was born, was born sinless and therefore born into God’s kingdom – in fact, He was born into His kingdom.
Therefore, every person that turns to God turns to Him as a refugee. We are fleeing the wrath to come (Romans 5:9). We want nothing to do with the kingdom of this world. And, by the Holy Spirit, we see the truth and righteousness of God’s kingdom and the lies and wickedness of our kingdom. “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14:17) So, in a very real sense, we come to God as a refugee, crying, “Let me in!” but the sons and daughters of Adam cannot enter!
So, what can be done? We come to God because our spiritual eyes have been opened. We see our wickedness and God’s righteousness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, we flee the flames. But what must we do to become a citizen of God’s kingdom?
“Wait,” you may say, “I can be a natural-born citizen in God’s kingdom, for I can be born-again!” Oh, a smart one, you are. Let’s consider a passage of Scripture:
But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”Romans 10:8-13
The Greek word for “you will be saved” is σωθήσῃ (sōthēsē), and it means “To save, heal, preserve, rescue.” The requirement for a person to become a citizen in the kingdom of God is to act with the faith God provides. The actions must be done by faith. You must make it publicly known, always, that you have submitted yourself to Jesus. Jesus is now your owner; that’s what the word “Lord” means (Κύριον (Kyrion): controller; by implication, Master). Yes, owner, as in “landlord.” – the person that owns the property. And you also must believe, be fully convinced, that Jesus Christ died, yet was raised from death by God.
Slaves of God
“Hold on!” you may be thinking. What about heirs of salvation and joint heirs with Christ Jesus? Yes, in Christ’s unfathomable grace, we have been made heirs, but we must not forget that we are heirs by Christ’s good will towards us. His Lordship never changes. After all, we can’t negate Romans 6:22, “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.“
These actions do not earn salvation but are a kind of reflex when saving faith connects to God. The need for salvation is made known by the Holy Spirit. Father God provides the faith. Jesus’ death on the cross accomplished restitution, reconciliation and received God’s wrath. So, we can’t lay claim to any aspect of our salvation. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Now I need to revisit one point. The word meaning “you will be saved” means to “save, heal, preserve, rescue.” Where’s the regeneration, born-again? How can I become a natural-born citizen of God’s Kingdom? Don’t worry. Let’s turn to 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” There you have it. We are reborn and, therefore, natural-born citizens in God’s kingdom.
What a joy it is to walk in the path of righteousness. “In the path of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death.” (Proverbs 12:28) If you’ve not done so, come and join me.
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