Undermining the Nation

In multicultural London you can find a buffet of churches with specific national flavours, you can pick and choose what suits you. As a result, many have formed a mixed race religion, containing a bit of truth and a bit of tradition.

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We gravitate to what we are familiar and comfortable with. English people gravitate to English people, Nigerian people gravitate to fellow Nigerians, Chinese... you get the point. It's very natural to befriend people with whom you share common values and nationality. In fact, many people dare not marry outside their nationality. I've even seen a room where the people formed a natural gradient from white people on the left to black people on the right and in between were mixed race. And this wasn't a conscious deliberate choice it just happened. You see it takes proactivity to break the natural mold.

So why do I bring this up? Because within our natural national bonds lies a subtle yet venomous threat to the expression of Kingdom citizenship. Failure to rightly elevate kingdom citizenship over your earthly national identity will cause and has indeed caused many problems. It stops us from embracing a richer and truer identity that unifies us in spirit, a blood tie far superior to that inherited by earthly means. It leaves us leaning on denominations instead of nationhood as a unifying factor. It stops us from relating to each other in the right manner. We begin to reflect our social and ethnic communities instead of the Lord's communion and culture.

It was this issue that caused Paul to confront Peter.

'When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.' - Galatians 2:12-13

Peter a patriot of Israel denied Christ again by treating his gentile brothers as though they were not now part of the commonwealth of Israel. He defaulted to his natural national affiliations. Evidently he forgot the vision stating he should not call unclean what God has made clean. His actions undermined Kingdom citizenship, he was behaving as though Christ had not already formed His new nation and defined the conditions for entry (circumcision of the heart).

Believers have dual nationalities, one of earthly ethnicity and the other of heavenly origin. Both nationalities cannot share the same podium, one must prevail at the detriment of the other (you cannot serve two masters Matt 6:24). Reflecting on Paul's rebuke to Peter we learn that submitting to peer pressure and allowing our natural ethnic affiliations to determine how we relate with each other may result in discriminating against our fellow brothers and sisters and ultimately undermine our national identity hewn by the finished work of Christ.

 

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