Then [Jesus] said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
Not Two But One
The Christian lives in two kingdoms. The Christian lives as a citizen of God’s kingdom of power under governing authorities established by God to provide peace and order for his earthly life. The Christian lives as a citizen of God’s kingdom of grace under God’s gracious rule as a child of God through faith in our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Because we, as Christians, live in these two kingdoms, it would be easy to think that we live in separate spheres—the sacred and the secular. We might say, “I’m a citizen living in this place under these governing authorities. That is what I do Monday through Saturday. There is nothing sacred about being a citizen of this kingdom. I am also a child of God under God’s gracious care and rule. I enjoy his forgiveness and love, but that’s really what I do on Sundays. That’s my spiritual life, my soul. That really doesn’t impact my life in the world.”
Yet Jesus would tell us otherwise. After all, he lived as a citizen of the world and of heaven at the same time. He submitted to the governing authorities. He paid taxes. He showed them respect and honor, yet he also lived in submission to his heavenly Father’s will to save our souls.
We, too, are citizens of this world, but at the same time, citizens of heaven. These are not separate identities—one Christian and one citizen. As believers made new in Christ, we bring the kingdom of heaven with us into our lives as citizens of communities and countries. We serve God, but at the same time, we also serve our neighbor. We model for the people around us how this can be. As citizens of both of God’s kingdoms, we can be a blessing to our neighbors, our communities, and our country. May God help us to live as his citizens now and for eternity!
O Lord of nations, as I live out my life as a citizen of this world, help me to see myself first and foremost as a citizen of heaven. Through me in these holy callings, bless my community and country with your grace. Amen.