Are you a citizen of Israel, or a Gentile foreigner?

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“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,” (Ephesians 2:19)

If you’re a Christian and you weren’t born Jewish, you’ve probably been told at some point that you’re a gentile. By birth, that is true. But you’re also a naturalized citizen of Spiritual Israel, aka the Kingdom of God. We have equal rights with the other spiritual heirs of Abraham, Issac and Jacob–while those with the physical bloodline are cut off from Israel if they’ve rejected Israel’s king (Jesus) and hence themselves renounced their citizenship.  We should of course still love, treat kindly and respectfully, and pray for the siblings who have disowned our eldest brother (Jesus) and deserted the family, but we do need to recognize the sad state of their relationship with Christ, the God of the bible, and hence also with us even as we long for their reconciliation.

We should be humble about it, as Paul says elsewhere. We’re also capable of being complete fools, renouncing our citizenship in Heaven, and disowning our spiritual family as well. But we are no longer gentiles, we are God’s adopted children, and adopted citizens of God’s nation, and God’s nation was always, is still, and always will be Israel. That’s why Christians from ancient times have felt a tie to the physical land both promised and given to our spiritual ancestors.

But our greatest promised land is the coming new heaven and new earth and the new Jerusalem Christ shall reign from.

Lord, we thank you for your finished work on the cross, reconciling your people to you and to each other. We thank you for adopting us and giving us an inheritance along side our brothers in the Kingdom. We pray for those who have departed from you and your household by rejecting the Firstborn, only begotten son, our eldest brother, Jesus. Reach out to the today, righteous father, with your loving hands and draw them (back) to the savior. Release our captive siblings from the chains of our enemies–and us where we are bound. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Pray for Authorities, God’s people, and the Lost

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“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.” (1 Timothy 2:5-6)

The context of this verse says, if I understand Paul’s complex sentence structures correctly is:

  • Pray for all people, including all government and authority figures
  • Pray that those in authority would allow God’s people to live peaceful, dignified lives (i.e. free of persecution)
  • It is also good to pray for those who don’t know Christ that they might be saved because God desires all know Him and the Truth
  • It is also good to pray this because the Lord is the only God and Jesus Christ gave himself to ransom all humanity and is the only mediator able to reconcile God to man (I.E. able to restore us to Paradise)
  • But actually give this testimony only at the proper time.

Paul doesn’t actually tell us out right when exactly the proper time is, at least in this chapter as far as I can tell. Reason would suggest the proper time is when our prayers have softened their hearts’s soil enough to receive the seed of faith we plant. Another scripture, “have an answer ready for the hope that is within you” suggests we’ll know for sure their hearts are ready when they ask us. Short of that, follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Lord, we pray for our governing authorities today and for all persons in positions to discriminate against Christians and make it difficult for us, in our nations as well as in lands where our brothers and sisters are dying rather than deny you. Change their hearts, oh Lord, so we might live in peace with the same dignity that they profess they want to ensure everyone enjoys.  Soften their hearts and the hearts of all those who do not know you, that they might be convicted of the truth, and ready to hear and receive our continued testimony that Christ died for all and only he can save us from our sin and make us pure enough to return to the Paradise we long for, which is found in your kingdom. In Jesus’ precious name we pray, amen.