Not My Flag

Not My Flag July 3, 2019
Image: Pexels

 

Many Christians love bumper sticker slogans like “Not of this World”, but strangely don’t consider what that really means.

To say you are “not of this world” means you don’t participate in the ways of this world.

Some of those ways include:

  • Politics
  • War
  • Nationalism
  • Money
  • Fame

 

Most Christians reduce the slogan to only cover things like “Lust, Envy, Murder, Adultery”, etc., and while they are correct that Christians should not practice those sins, that’s not what the scriptures are referring to when they instruct us to “not love the world or anything in it” [1 John 2:15]

The World is just that: The World. This includes: Governments, Kingdoms, Rulers, Nations and the like.

Notice that we are told not to love 2 things: “The World” and “Anything in the World”.

If we were only told not to love “anything in the World”, then we could be sure that our list would only include things like “lust, pride, envy, murder”, etc. But instead we are told not to love “The World” [which is the larger reality] and not to love “Anything in the World” [which would be the activities and practices of people within that world].

Pledging allegiance to Jesus is about submitting to His rule and reign over your life. As citizens of Christ’s Kingdom, we live under His laws. We are obedient to the Nation of God which stands in total opposition to every other kingdom and nation on this earth.

Those who become citizens of Christ’s Kingdom renounce their citizenship and their loyalty to their birth-nation.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” – [Romans 12:2]

The “pattern of this world” is obvious. People form tribes, establish governments, select rulers, write laws, and begin to seek the power necessary to dominate other nations around them. This is the way of the world, but it is not the way of the Kingdom of Christ.

Our way is love. Our new pattern was established by Jesus, our King. It’s not about exercising power over others, it’s about exerting our power to come beneath others and love them as Christ loved us.

Once you have become a citizen of Christ’s Kingdom, your relationship with your previous country of origin shifts. You are no longer loyal to the charter of that government. Instead you are now an ambassador of Christ and His Kingdom. This means you do not participate in the politics of that country where you serve as liaison. You are now an agent of a Holy Nation which stands apart from all other nations. You now have no other King but Christ. Yes, as an ambassador you obey the laws of the nation you live in, but whenever those laws contradict your home nation’s laws, you must not obey them, even if it means suffering the consequences.

At issue is “How do we as followers of Jesus best impact our culture?” Jesus had an answer: “Go into all the world and preach the Good News of the Kingdom, making disciples and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you.”

There are no scriptures about voting or running for office, but there are plenty of NT verses about not being entangled with the affairs of this world…and what’s more “an affair of this world” than Politics or War?

As the Apostle Paul told us:

“No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.” – [2 Tim. 2:4]

We are soldiers in another army – the army of God. We are fighting for His Holy Nation, not the nations of this earth which only seek to gain power and wealth at the expense of others.

So, once we enlist as soldiers in His army and become citizens of His Kingdom, we look at other nations and say, “That’s not my nation.” We look at other flags and say, “That’s not my flag.”

As soldiers who fight for the Nation of God, we have to keep in mind a few things:

*Our weapons are not carnal. [2 Cor. 10:4]

*Our enemies are not other people. [Eph. 6:12]

*We do not fight with violence, but with proactive displays of Christ’s transformational love. [1 Cor. 4:9]

As citizens of a new, eternal and Holy Nation, we also must remember:

*Our fellow citizens are from every tongue, and tribe, and nation on this globe. [Rev. 7:9-10]

*Christ is not partisan. He is radically inclusive. [Matt. 28:19]

*This world is not our home. [1 Peter 2:11]

*Those who remain entangled in the affairs of worldly nations must be set free [Rev. 18:4]

*Every nation and empire on this planet is already doomed to fail [including America] and will soon be overcome by His Kingdom [Rev. 11:15]

*We cannot serve two nations or two masters. Our loyalty must be to Christ’s Kingdom alone. [Matt. 6:24]

Sadly, many Christians today have forgotten all of these things. Or, they never knew these things because they were never preached from the pulpit, or they never read the Gospel first-hand.

Instead, these Christians tearfully pledge allegiance a national flag. They proudly affirm that their nation is the best. They send their children to fight and die for the advancement of their nation’s values and corporate interests. They are more upset when someone disrespects their country’s flag than when someone blasphemes their King. They are more moved to tears at the sound of their national anthem than they are when they encounter the oppression of people that Jesus loved enough to die for.

For those Christians who are untangled from the affairs of this world, politics are pointless attempts by mere mortals to solve problems which are not political in nature.

Those who remain entangled in worldly politics can only write and pass laws. But for those who have pledged their allegiance to Christ’s Kingdom is granted the power to transform hearts and renew minds.

Those who have transferred their citizenship over to the Nation of God know this: The world is being remade from within. Even now the Gospel of Jesus is constantly making all things new and changing human hearts to be more like Jesus. When change comes to this world it will not be from the outside in, but from the inside out.

This is why we have abandoned the call to conform to the patterns of this world: War, Politics, Nationalism, Tribalism, Patriotism, Greed, Wealth, Fame, Fashion, and the like.

We understand that transformation is our King’s battle plan.

For millennia, men and women have been establishing governments and selecting kings and queens to rule over them; each time with the same results.

The definition of insanity is this: “Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.”

We choose to abandon these empty and foolish patterns. We reject the insanity. Instead, we embrace transformation. We choose to love. We resolve to put into practice the commands of our King and we await the coming of His Kingdom on earth.

And when it arrives we won’t have any trouble adjusting to it, because we will have already been living under His rule and reign all of our lives.

Let His Kingdom come!

“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.” [Rev. 11:15]

“And the spirit and the Bride say, “Come!” [Rev. 22:17]

“Even so, come Lord Jesus” [Rev. 22:20]

**

Keith Giles was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church 11 years ago, to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community. Today, He and his wife live in Meridian, Idaho, awaiting their next adventure.


His newest book, “Jesus Unveiled: Forsaking Church As We Know It For Ekklesia As God Intended” released on June 9, 2019 on Amazon, and features a Foreword by author Richard Jacobson.
He is also the author of the Amazon best-seller, “Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb” with a Foreword by Greg Boyd.His Podcast: Heretic Happy Hour Podcast is on iTunes and Podbean. Can’t get enough? Get great bonus content: Patreon page.

Upcoming events:

*Hot Springs, NC – July 11-14 “Wild Goose Festival”

*Woodstock, GA – July 27-28 “Unleashing the Word of God” [With Richard Murray] – FREE!


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TRENDING AT PATHEOS Progressive Christian
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • A big part of the problem revolves around “tribalism.” Christianity is a “religion,” and religions, are by nature, tribalistic, which is to say, exclusive. Jesus was not a Christian, nor is there any indication he came to start a new religion called Christianity. He started a movement that had followers. Short on theology but big on social ideas and actions, it was known as “the Way.” Although born a Jew, he was intensely critical of the way the religion played out in his own time. In short, he was not religious, i.e., not fastidious about maintaining the Jewish practice. Instead, like the prophets before him, he criticized the religious establishment in its entrenchment to rules and blind eye to social injustices.
    For two and a half centuries his followers followed this ethos, until the politics of Rome intruded. The Emperor offered them a tempting offer: he would make the followers of the Way, now called Christians, the official State religion of Rome if they would split their allegiance between Christ and the Emperor. The die was cast, those who followed Jesus would become a powerful religious body, that incorporated the polity of Rome, and would in time, become subservient to the intrigues of politics.
    A pattern would become entrenched in Christian thinking, of power, exclusivity and violence. In short, Christianity became a replacement for Second Temple Judaism, very similar to the religion that Christ had resisted and criticized in the first place. It is no wonder then, that for 1700 years, Christians have “served two masters.” The Kingdom of God would be brought about by force and violence if necessary, because that was the way Rome conquered its neighbors. Rather than pattern itself after Christ, Caesar became the pattern to follow.
    The situation today in American Christianity is eerily similar. The picture of Mike Pence with a blank expression on his face, standing demurely behind Trump effectively captures the subservience of evangelicalism to Caesar. God help us!

  • R/R 2016

    The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.” (John 4:19-22)

    Paul said, “I am a Jew of Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no insignificant city; and I beg you, allow me to speak to the people.” (Acts 21:39)

    The commander came and said to him, “Tell me, are you a Roman?” And he said, “Yes.” The commander answered, “I acquired this citizenship with a large sum of money.” And Paul said, “But I was actually born a citizen.” (Acts 21:27-28)

    Proud citizenship is not a barrier to right faith, Keith. Eat a hotdog. Enjoy some fireworks. And stop taking yourself so seriously.

    Happy 4th of July.

  • bill wald

    Do you vote in national and/or local elections or do you simply trust God to do what is right?

  • KontraDiction

    Paul was kinda full of himself, wasn’t he. I think that’s why he missed the mark, focusing on faith in the right doctrine and life after death, instead of right living in THIS world. Hell, he never even mentions the sermon on the mount, or any of Jesus’s sayings. If I wanted to know what Jesus taught, I wouldn’t ask Paul.

    Happy 4th to those in the US, enjoy your day!

  • James Elliott

    I remember Jesus’ teaching that we should, “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.” Of course, the original hearers of that statement couldn’t imagine living in a democratic republic. They were simply told, in essence, that if they were going to benefit at all from the Roman Emperor, they needed to give back to him…and to give to God what belonged to God. We do live in, and benefit from, a democratic republic (much as that may gall some of us to admit 🙂 In that sense then we have an obligation to be a “loyal opposition” to the powers – to struggle for children who sleep on concrete floors…do justice for those who seem to be on the short end of justice…partner with God until that day comes when the Kingdom is fulfilled. This is the only home i’ve known so i have a special attachment to our country. I don’t idolize a flag, and certainly not a weapon. But when the words “we hold that…all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights…” that was the first time in history that was formally penned. It set forth a vision and specific purpose. I kind of think that as a person of faith, i owe it to Caesar to participate.

  • AntithiChrist

    Telling Christians to be not of this world serves many purposes.

    1- For those Christians who go out into the world to “vote their faith,” or their pastor’s or their church tribe’s faith, it enables them to do an end run around accepting responsibility for the results of that vote. By avoiding the news and going about a quiet, Christian, non-worldly life, you don’t have to imagine, for instance, the government you voted in separating families and isolating them into concentration camps. You can just think instead about how Jesus loves everyone.

    2-You can discriminate against people that your faith tribe tells you it’s ok to discriminate against, ignoring those pesky civil laws or constitutionally guided ideals of American inclusivity. PSA: This one might get expensive, but if you play your social media right you may be able to pick up Christian legal representation pro bono, and there’s always the possibility of martyrdom and a lucrative (if worldly) GoFundMe campaign.

    3- Unfortunately, one benefit of this system of thought, that this worldly world is only to be valued inasmuch as it provides a temporary stepping stone to a blissful eternity, the planet and its inhabitants are thereby devalued, literally on an infinite scale. This places a mindset in the minds of many Christians that any damage we do to this world does not matter in the least, since the Christian god plans to wipe it all out along with the godless non-Christians anyway. This attitude ultimately will allow Christians to commit or ignore untold atrocities, earthly and human, by True Believers all along the way, until one of them does in fact get access to the nuclear codes.

    Things to think about in church.

    Edits: punctuation.

  • AntithiChrist

    Paul never met any prophet named Jesus, – most likely since an actual savior named Jesus never existed- so it’s not surprising that he never brought him up, or even dropped his name, even when doing so would have effectively stomped out many of the inter-church fires over the fledgling dogma that he keeps griping about in his letters.

  • KontraDiction

    Not only did he never meet Jesus (the historical rabbi – not the magical resurrected savior), he barely spent time with any of the original apostles who did. Apparently there was quite a spat between them, if you read between the lines.

    It’s a shame it was Paul’s version and not Jesus’s that made the final cut.

  • R/R 2016

    Paul quotes Jesus when teaching the Lord’s Supper. See 1 Corinthians 11. Thank you for the well wishes.

  • KontraDiction

    If I were to pick just one quote from Jesus, I wouldn’t have chosen that one. The sermon on the mount would be it, or even ANY of the parables, but Paul never mentioned these.

    1 Corinthians 11? Seriously? Paul sounds exactly like a Pharisee. “Woman, cover your head. Man, uncover yours. Wives submit…” and so on. Also, the Lord’s Supper ORIGINATED with Paul – not Jesus. (http://www.usccb.org/bible/1corinthians11:2 notes)

    Paul was obsessed with the death & resurrection of Christ, not at all with the teachings of the man Jesus.

  • R/R 2016

    You said Paul never mentions “any of Jesus’s sayings”. He quotes Jesus verbatim, whether independent of or directly from a/the Gospel account/s, and regardless of the tradition’s origins. What you would or would not pick is of no real concern to me. Thanks again.

  • KontraDiction

    “Regardless of the tradition’s origins”? Actually that’s the clutch point. Paul never met Jesus. He barely seemed concerned with what the man said, and instead of furthering a powerful moral revelation that could transform this world into “heaven on earth”, he fixated on the resurrection narrative. Without inner transformation, it’s just an insurance policy.

  • James Elliott

    I agree with your last statement wholeheartedly and would add that without inner transformation, it’s not even a good insurance policy. Given his experience, Paul would agree. As for Paul meeting Jesus…well, we can’t be definitive on that. Oh, maybe not “Hi, i’m Saul… good to meet you” sort of meeting. But there are scholars who believe that Saul might have been part of the Sanhedrin. If so (and quite probably even if he wasn’t), Paul would have been familiar with Jesus’ teachings and the impressions he made on people. You are right that, aside from some quotes in 1st Corinthians, Paul didn’t directly quote Jesus. But the absence of quotations itself doesn’t necessarily indicate the level of concern. According to the record, he had a calling few ordained people have experienced – direct from the resurrected Lord. For Paul that shaped everything.

  • Ocelot Aardvark

    Odd you should claim that, when Scripture clearly states that Paul did indeed meet Jesus; and Jesus Christ did indeed converse with Saul/Paul … on the Road to Damascus. – Acts 9:1-22

  • Ocelot Aardvark

    Mostly agree, except the part where you post “Mike Pence with a blank expression on his face, standing demurely behind ……

    In truth, Pence stands behind and beside TЯ

  • AntithiChrist

    Scripture? Damascus? Was during Paul’s famous psychotic episode/hallucination?

    First off, scripture has never “clearly stated” anything, or there wouldn’t be multiple interpretations of each and every bible verse out there, and there would only be one denomination of this religion and there would only be one religion, this one.

    Also, it that’s the criteria, I’ve seen Jesus a bunch of times. First time was in 1979 with the generous help of some magical mushrooms. I was even walking along a road at the time.

  • Ocelot Aardvark

    I’d caution you against feeble attempts at scoffing. God will not be mocked.

    “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” – Galatians 6:7

  • Ocelot Aardvark

    I perceive a spirit of mockery in your reply. So there’s nothing else to discuss.

    “Give not what is holy to dogs (unbelievers), neither cast your pearls before swine (mockers, scoffers).” – Matthew 7:6

  • AntithiChrist

    FU