Tuesday, September 7, 2010

three identities

Acts 22:3 "I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city..."
Acts 22:16"...Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord."
Acts 22:27 Then the commander came and said to him, "Tell me, are you a Roman?"  He said, "Yes."
It is interesting to consider that Paul was a citizen of three kingoms: Israel, Rome and Heaven.  He had been born into two of those citizenships naturally and reborn spiritually to the third.  He was thoroughly Jewish and had been schooled by an esteemed Pharisee named Gamaliel...almost like going to the Harvard of his day.  This had prepared him for knowledge and leadership among other Jews.  But his zeal for the law had motivated his persecution of Christians until the Lord seized his attention with a blinding light and convicting words.  Then Paul yielded his heart to the One who would wash him clean of sin and establish his heavenly citizenship.  The Lord had plans for Paul to reach the world with the message of faith.  His roots as a Jew gave him great understanding and ability to communicate the gospel as the fulfillment of the law and Paul had been totally comfortable teaching and preaching Christ in the synagogues of Jerusalem, Asia and Greece.  But Paul had also been born a Roman citizen...possibly because one of his parents or grandparents had been extended Roman citizenship before him.  At a strategic time this citizenship spared Paul from physical punishment at the hands of centurions and provided him with a ticket to Rome because the Lord wanted him to carry the gospel there as well.  We, also, have different citizenships.  We are members of a community, citizens of a free country and participants in various circles of work, play and culture.  It is good to consider how the Lord has strategically placed us in each of these "identities".  Perhaps we can find opportunities to live, show and share Him to the world in each of these identities...because of our true and lasting citizenship for eternity, in Heaven, with Him.
Rob Smith

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