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Nationalism and Patriotism

Patriotism (noun)
1. devoted love, support, and defense of one's country; national loyalty.

Nationalism (noun)
1. spirit or aspirations common to the whole of a nation.

"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, 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." - 1 Peter 2:9-10 (NIV)

Do the words Patriotism and Nationalism apply to the body of Christ? Yes and No. Yes in the context of God’s nation. If Jesus is your King you belong to the nation of God, a holy nation. Then you should have devoted love, support and defend (apologĂ­a) God’s nation and be loyal to Him who has redeemed us. We should have the same aspirations common to all those who are citizens of God’s kingdom as revealed in God’s word, which is first and foremost the good news of the Kingdom of God as Jesus showed us. 

For followers of Jesus also No. This is when we take the message of the gospel of the kingdom of God and wrap it in the secular political ideologies of the nations of the world. When the country of the world we live and patriotism or nationalism of that worldly country take priority over your love and devotion to God’s kingdom and His will in Jesus Christ through the inerrant word of God. We can recognize this when scripture is used to try and justify telling others to follow a particular secular political ideology in Jesus name apart from following Jesus. When these ideologies are directly or indirectly opposed to God’s will for the church, the holy nation.

"as he (Paul) does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability." - 2 Peter 3:16-17 (ESV)

"Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge," - 1 Timothy 6:20 (NIV)

Now as followers of Jesus should we demonize these word? No. French people love France, Germans love Germany, Brazilians love Brazil. If we vilify their patriotism or the pride they have in their nation then most will not being willing to listen to the gospel of the Kingdom of God. Remember we as ambassadors of Christ. An ambassador doesn't go into another nation and tell its leaders and people not to like their nation. We need to be wise about not erecting unnecessary barriers for the gospel of the Kingdom of God. 

Just like we should not disparage secular political leaders. These civic leaders and the people they govern, that do not know Jesus, love their nation. God’s will for those who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ are told to pray for your civic leaders and those they govern. If you are praying for someone in one breath can you turn around and speak bad about the person your praying for in the next breath? 

"With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water." - James 3:9-12 (NIV) 

Now ideas are a different category. As followers of Jesus we speak out against murder of the unborn. The vilifying of individualism.  After all when we stand before God on that final day of judgement it will be as individuals not as a group. All that will matter is if our name was written in the book of life not what tribe we belong to. We should speak out against stealing, lying about your neighbor, sexual immorality in all its forms. 

The body of Christ lives in every nation and the goal that Jesus gave us was to invite all people from every nation to be citizens of God’s nation. In doing so hearts are transformed, a new creation comes forth and whatever injustice or sins are apart of that nation will begin to change with every heart that God changes to be more like His Son through the power of the Holy Spirit not legislation.

We cannot be so politically party minded we become no gospel of the Kingdom good.


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