Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.

10.22.2010

Jus Soli. Jus Sanguinis.

Years ago, my Grandma set out to become a citizen of the United States. Born in Poland, she had come over with my Bobcha when she was only 5 or 6. She had been legally living in the US since that day, but she was content with the status quo and simply never got around to getting her citizenship. One day, though, when her to-do list read “Become a citizen” she set out on her quest to become a citizen of this nation. She paid the large fee that was part of the process and took the paperwork that would set her citizenship in motion. When she returned with eagerness, paperwork in hand, she was greeted with the sort of bombshell that infuriates and distresses all at once, so you don’t know whether to scream or to cry: “That’s the wrong paperwork. You must pay the fee again and start all over.” No amount of reasoning would prevail against the unreasonable beauracracy, and Grandma left the place distraught and upset. And she never went back.
Until now.

This month she returned to that government office, the place of former defeat, and made it a place of victory, answering questions such as
“How many US Senators are there?”
“The House of Representatives has how many voting members?”
“Who is the chief justice of the United States?”
“When was the Constitution written?”

And now my Grandma is a citizen of the United States! I am immensely proud, if you can’t already tell, and this is a moment of great joy and celebration for us.
She had to endure beauracracy, paperwork, fees, and tests. All I had to do was be born.
She had to swear her allegiance, be fingerprinted, and appear before a judge. I just had to emerge, a screaming newborn, in the US.

I am a citizen merely because of jus soli—right of the land and jus sanguinis—right through blood. I didn’t have to take any tests, submit to being called an “alien” or prove that I can speak English. I merely had to be born.
For by birth I have become a citizen through the Constitution, and that not of myself; it is the gift of the United States.
Sound familiar?

Ephesians 2:8-9, 18-19 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast….For through [Christ] we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.”

With Christ, you see, there is no citizenship test. No fingerprinting, no paperwork. Because any test there could be to guarantee we are good enough for citizenship in Heaven would be unattainably difficult. Any fee that we could pay to ensure citizenship in God’s eyes would be insurmountably high. We are traitors and enemies of God, and just as no one who has commited crimes against the United States would ever be allowed to take the citizenship test, there is just no way we can become citizens of God—our crimes are too heinous, for they put the King on the cross.

We are turned away at the citizenship desk, told that we have the wrong paperwork, and given a fee too high for us to pay.
But there is a way.

Jus soli. There is a way through new birth in Christ.
Jus sanguinis. There is a way through Christ’s blood.

“The commander answered, ‘With a large sum I obtained this citizenship.’ And Paul said, ‘But I was born a citizen.’”(Acts 22:28)
If you have been born a citizen of God’s kingdom, if you have been covered in the blood of Christ, then no one can take it away from you.

On the worst days, when Satan has you sobbing because you cannot shake sin’s hold in your life, remember that you are forever a citizen of Heaven, and with that citizenship comes forgiveness.

On the busiest days, when your Bible lies unopened on your nightstand, remember that you are a citizen of Heaven, and it is your right, your duty, and your highest privilege to read the words of your King.

On the darkest days, when death approaches, recall that you are a citizen of Heaven, about to be transferred to your native country.

And on the other days, the October 22nds and the slow Mondays of life, remember that this world is a foreign country, and you are an alien in it. For if you are a citizen through the blood of Christ, you hail from God’s country, speak God’s language, and will swear your allegiance to Christ to the death.
If you are Christ’s, then you are a citizen of the household of God.

“These [men and women] all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.”
                                                               -Hebrews 11:13-16

Picture Credit

5 comments:

  1. Very thoughtful and well written. Much like your grandma, I too had to take a test, pay a fee, fill out paperwork and finally be sworn in. While becoming a citizen of Heaven was much easier, and it has immensely better rewards.

    ReplyDelete
  2. congratulations to your Grandma! I became a sitizen of the US in 2006, one of the happiest days of my life! Thank you for this beautiful post.

    ReplyDelete
  3. mormonhermitmom--Thanks!
    Alessandra--Thanks so much--I always look forward to reading your comments. And I didn't know you had to take the citizenship test; that's very neat!
    Anya--Thank you and congratulations on your own citizenship!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Congratulations to your grandmother and what a beautiful and well-writen post.

    ReplyDelete

We love comments like we love sunshine and chocolate and chubby babies!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin