“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as His heritage.” Psalm 33:12
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” If you are not too young and are an American citizen, you made this pledge so often in school that it quickly became solidified in your memory. But you were never forced to pledge allegiance once the Supreme Court decided against its 1940 ruling and made it completely voluntary to recite the pledge in 1943. Allegiance, as prayer, is not compulsory, in fitting with the fact that America is by and large a practicing Christian nation by the majority profession of its citizens, buttressed by church attendance.
Christianity is a fully volunteer involvement. There is no compulsion to believe for anyone who chooses to become a Christian. It is only acknowledged that a true understanding of God’s grace is that His grace is truly irresistible. Those genuinely born again by the Spirit of God come freely into a new birth because God’s marvelous grace so envelopes them that they do not resist it. As Paul says, “The love of Christ constrains me.”
Consequently, there is also no compulsion to pledge allegiance to the country which is your home and of which you are a citizen by birth or choice. There are those who have brought federal suits to do away with or change the wording of the pledge, simply because if they or their children have to even hear others say it aloud, they are offended. But this is no democratic understanding, and these objectors reside voluntarily in a country which is democratic. They are not under any compulsion whatsoever to pledge allegiance to this country which actually strives to defend and protect them and provides them numerous personal benefits.
Genuine patriotism does not arise from compulsion either. It is simply the expression from one’s heart of love and gratitude for the country God assigned to them as their birth home, and by some as their home through their voluntary, desired adoption. There is no sin in showing patriotism to one’s homeland as long as the believer does not allow his or her patriotism to supersede the acknowledgement and faithfulness to where their ultimate citizenship resides: heaven! As Paul writes in Philippians of every believer, “Our citizenship is in heaven.”
The Psalmist writes, of no nation in particular, that that nation is blessed whose God is the Lord! But a nation which at one time acknowledged God as their Lord may turn at some point from such belief and behavior to serve the gods of this world; consequently, with His blessing removed, a curse supplants it.
As of this July 4th, we are still trusting that America’s God is the Lord “lest He come and strike the land with a curse.” If we desert Him, God may remove His blessing from this great country. Persecution is already taking place for Christians who dare to obey and honor God with their lives, faith, and businesses in the face of attacks on their faith. Unfortunately, more and more justices support their persecution.
It is my hope that in the aftermath of July 4th you will again thank God for His blessings on you and your homeland and that you will recommit yourself to the godly cause of “liberty and justice for all,” especially liberty in Christ; for, “if Christ shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” In any case, blessing or curse, we look forward to the return of the Lord Jesus Christ and His promise of a new heaven and a new earth! Allegiance to Him above all brings this sure reward.
“Ever lift thy face upon me as I work and wait for thee; resting ‘neath thy smile, Lord Jesus, Earth’s dark shadows flee. Brightness of my Father’s glory, sunshine of my Father’s face, keep me ever trusting, resting, fill me with thy grace. Jesus, I am resting, resting, in the joy of what thou art; I am finding out the greatness of thy loving heart.”
(4th verse of Jean Pigott’s hymn, “Jesus, I Am Resting, Resting,” 1876)
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