Dual Citizenship Has its Benefits, But Being an Alien Does Too
August 12, 2015 | by: Dave Maniquis | 0 Comments
Posted in: Theology
The notion of being a citizen of two different countries has always intrigued me. A dual citizen has to choose which place suits them the best. After all, you can’t be in two places at one time. (Although I have encountered people who seemed to be in multiple worlds far away.) Many countries permit dual citizenship, others have very restrictive laws, others don’t permit it at all. However, if it is allowed the dual national gets to enjoy the benefit of swinging back and forth from one country to the other without the usual border hassles. You have two passports. There are no visas or work permits. Notwithstanding a particular country’s dual citizenship restrictions, the person can be authorized to purchase property, can obtain a driver’s license, enroll in the educational system, or get a job. For many, they don’t have to bother learning a second language.
There are several means by which a person can be a “dual-cit.” For instance, it can happen by being born to parents of mixed nationality, mere place of birth, through marriage, naturalization, by being adopted, and can even have a basis of ethnicity or religion such as in Israel and some Muslim countries. Take the U.S. for example. A child born in a foreign country to U.S. citizen parents may be both a U.S. citizen and a citizen of the country of birth. Period. However, it’s not encouraged since there’s always a potential for problems. One is that the country where a dual-national is currently residing largely has a stronger claim to that person's allegiance. Now, where a person is located, where they reside, where their immediate environment pushes their buttons has great theological application for the Christian.
That’s because on the one hand if you come into a genuine relationship with God through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit has taken up residence in you, you don’t have dual citizenship in the aforementioned civic sense. (Philippians 3:20) But, rather, an overriding citizenship with present and future perspectives. I like the way Paul explains the wedding of all people who are in Christ into one country, one nation both physically and spiritually—one distinctive citizenship. “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens [from each other], but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.” (Ephesians 2:19–20)
This is not dualism. This is not “spiritual versus physical” or “spiritual good, physical bad.” God’s Kingdom is greater than that. It’s both. Because God’s people are embodied. They are real, living, breathing persons. Just as Jesus is. There’s the spiritual change. That’s for sure, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he [she] is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Cor. 5:17) That’s what the Christian is now. A new citizen that now informs and reshapes your original citizenship which continues in the sense of locality. It’s where you reside and where you live out your new citizenship while that first one is still respected, insofar as it does not conflict or collide with your new, overriding one. (Acts 4:19; 5:29; Romans 13:1)
So, if you have dual citizenship in the mere civic sense alone, you have a wonderful advantage certainly to be enjoyed for what it offers. However, as a Christian you have an overriding citizenship in the biblical sense while benefiting as an alien to only what the world offers. Enjoy both of these even more. It’s humongous. It’s both present and future, promises already fulfilled and those to come. It’s the delight of being a foreigner while savoring your true citizenship. (1 Peter 2:9-12)
Your allegiance is now to your King, and His Kingdom, for what He has done for you. No long lines at the Immigration & Naturalization Service, no border hassles by Customs Agents, no immigration lawyers, no having to “work the system.” Jesus has already ushered you into His Kingdom where your citizenship is secure when you believe in and follow Him. That’s the “pledge of allegiance” that He asks of you and you don’t even have to cross your heart when you speak to Him. He already knows how to read it.
It’s been said that because of the cross, “Christians know where we’re headed, and because of the cross, we are guaranteed citizenship. It is the country we belong in, the home and land we’ve been looking for all our lives. The color of our passport is blood red and our eternal visa has already been irrevocably stamped in.”
Dave Maniquis is a Teaching Elder at Restoration Church. He holds a BA in History from Rutgers University and an MA in Biblical Studies from Reformed Theological Seminary. He enjoyed a 23-year career in the U.S. Government, working and traveling extensively in Western and Eastern Europe. He has been a Christian for most of his adult life and has been involved in church planting, overseas as well as here in Port Orange, teaching the Bible and speaking into others’ lives with the Gospel. He is married to Maureen and they have two wonderful sons, Dylan and Evan.