Adapted from a pamphlet by Followers of the Way
TREASON, n. tree’zn.
Treason is the highest crime of a civil nature of which a man can be guilty. Black’s Law Dictionary defines “treason” as ”attempting to overthrow the government of the state to which one owes allegiance, either by making war against the state or by materially supporting its enemies.”
A traitor is perhaps one of the worst things a person can be called. To sell out your own people, your own country, is perhaps the most despicable thing a man can do. What causes a person to sell out those who deserve his allegiance? Financial gain? Hatred? Bitterness? Deception? Ignorance?
What would you think if your president sent one of your fellow countrymen as an ambassador to a foreign land? His job would be to represent and secure America’s interests in this foreign land. While our ambassador was living in this foreign land, he became very comfortable. He began pursuing a better and better life among the natives of this foreign land. He started becoming so comfortable in this strange land that he became slowly more interested in the affairs and security of this foreign power than the nation that sent him, the nation where he was born, the nation of his father and mother. What would you think if it became apparent that our ambassador was contradicting the president’s commands and the will of the nation? Would you consider this man a traitor? What if he began to work and live in opposition to his leader? Should he be tried and convicted as a traitor?
The Apostle Paul says: “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20). The Greek word that we translate “church” is ekklesia. It means “the called out ones.” When Jesus was teaching and preaching many people understood rightly that He was coming to institute a new and unrivaled kingdom, the Kingdom of God. Many did not understand that His Kingdom would be an entirely different kind of Kingdom than the earthly ones to which they were accustomed.
Back in the first century A.D., Christians understood that the expression “Jesus is Lord” was in competition with the common political expression “Caesar is Lord.” Tolerance was allowed in the Roman Empire for almost any religion, so long as homage was paid to Caesar as Lord. When the Christians said “Jesus is Lord” they were stating that their King was Jesus. Through their baptism in Jesus they had died to their old lives and loyalties and risen into a new kingdom. They understood perfectly that they could only hold one allegiance, only one loyalty; they could no longer say, “Caesar is Lord.” Many Christians were killed for this reason, as the empire sought to destroy this competing nation in their midst.
So what does this mean for a Christian living in America? I encourage you to read Jesus’ own words and commands for His Kingdom and His disciples. He said that His people would love their enemies. He said that the greatest in His kingdom would be the least. He showed us that greed and pride had no place in His Kingdom. He said there could be no drunkenness, liars, or idolaters in His Kingdom. He taught that there would be no adulterers in His Kingdom; and that “whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery” (Luke 16:18). Compare this to what you know of the United States; with her wars and abortions; her rampant divorce rate, and perverse immorality; her greed and her oppression and ask if the two are anything alike. In America, the strong, the greedy, the dishonest, and the rich are the leaders and rulers of the land, on either side of the political spectrum. In Jesus’ Kingdom, the weak and the poor, the humble and the honest are the leaders.
The question must be asked of you, friend: To whom is your exclusive and sole allegiance? When Jesus commands, “Love your enemy”, and “do not resist the evil person” (Matthew 5:39-44) and America rejoices over the death of her enemies or calls on you to kill or support the killing of her enemies, whom will you follow? When Jesus commands purity of the eye, what do you allow your eyes to look at in a culture that flaunts immodesty and lustful entertainment? When Jesus commands his people to love the poor and care for them, and America promotes the “American dream”, whom will you follow? When the Holy Spirit and the Church say Jesus is Lord and the American flag is raised and the fireworks explode, where is your allegiance, and who is the traitor? Are you an ambassador of King Jesus or have you sold out to American patriotism?
If you claim that “Jesus is Lord” I challenge you to consider your ways and your King. But do not be a traitor; give your full and undivided allegiance to your King. “Come out from among them and be separate says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you, and you shall be My sons and daughters says the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:17-18). If Jesus is not your Lord, may I first apologize for what has been done by professing Christians in our land to force their ways and views on others? To be sure, Jesus did not instruct His people to ever use force or coercion in any way, at the end of a sword or a ballot box. His is a revolution, but it is a revolution of peace, and of life, and love, and truth. Secondly, please consider the teachings of the real Jesus and His Kingdom. Judge Him not on what you presume Him to be, or by how He has been mis-characterized by an unfaithful people; but rather, as He is, and as He declared Himself to be, the Prince of Peace, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Healer, the risen Son of God, and the One who will return to Judge the living and the dead.