I have been blessed to have been born in the United States of America. It has been called “The land of the free, and the home of the brave”. Some have called the U. S. of A. a “Christian nation”, some “Not a Christian nation”.
I want all to know, however, that I am a citizen of two Nations. The nation in which I was physically born; and the Nation of Heaven into which I was born again through faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I could not; neither can any other person, get into that nation without new birth through faith in Christ Jesus (John 3:3).
Now to the point of Acts 22…
“The chief captain commanded him to be brought into the castle, and bade that he should be examined by scourging; that he might know wherefore they cried so against him. And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said unto the centurion that stood by, Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned? When the centurion heard that, he went and told the chief captain, saying, Take heed what thou doest: for this man is a Roman. Then the chief captain came, and said unto him, Tell me, art thou a Roman? He said, Yea. And the chief captain answered, With a great sum obtained I this freedom. And Paul said, But I was free born. Then straightway they departed from him which should have examined him: and the chief captain also was afraid, after he knew that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him.” Acts 22:24-29 (KJV)
The apostle Paul was also the citizen of two, actually three nations, though one [Israel] was not recognized as a nation at that time. He was on trial for his witness; his testimony he has shared in verses 1 – 22 of this chapter. They were about to beat him with a whip, and he was a Roman citizen, a born free Roman citizen.
As a citizen he was not to be beaten, whipped; at least not without a legal trial. Yet, that is what was about to happen; so Paul uses his Roman citizenship.
In many nations the citizens of that country has rights and freedoms foreigners do not have in that country. Citizens of the U. S. of A. have rights and freedoms that foreigners do not have. That is being tried daily in our press, and in our government; and of that I will say only this. Rights and freedoms of this country belong to citizens of this country.
Our earthly citizenship is a tool of God to bring others to Christ Jesus; so we can use our rights and freedoms to see others gloriously redeemed through the blood of Jesus. As with Paul, “God was using the great power of the Roman Empire to protect His servant and eventually get him to Rome. God’s missionary did get to Rome — and the Romans paid the bill.” Warren Wiersbe
Our earthly citizenship – not matter what nation we live in – should not be used to cause shame toward our Savior, or to our heavenly citizenship. Let us live faithfully for our Lord and Savior in this world. Our first responsibility is to our Lord. That means being good citizens in the world in which we live.