1. Love for the Nation of Birth
1.1 Serving and Protecting One Another
Anyone who has followed electoral politics for a while (in democracies like USA and India), would have come across some election where one of the candidates is born in a foreign country (or suspected to be). In such an election, the opposition invariably makes it a big issue and tries to disqualify and discredit the candidate. We all seem to intuitively have a love for the nation that we are born in. We all admire and appreciate the patriotic devotion of people who sacrifice their lives for the nation. That seems to be an important vehicle by which we serve and protect one another. Even when God called Abraham-Issac-Jacob for a purpose, He used the vehicle of a nation to serve the purpose of the call.
1.2 God’s Creation Mandate
In Genesis 1:26-28, when God created humans in His image, He gave the command to rule, subdue, take care and stewards of the earth: “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea.. male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea..”
Our parents have given us the physical body. The community, nation sustained us to continue to live and protected us, often with great sacrifices of fellow citizens, the army, the law enforcement of the nation. The education, freedom, culture, festivals, food, clothing, civilization, various traditions (religious or otherwise), theater, art forms, etc of the nation that we are born into, enriched us to experience, explore, appreciate, admire God’s creation. We should be thankful to God for parents, friends, family, community, fellow citizens, nation – these reflect the greatness of God’s creation. Genesis 1:31 says, “God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good”. Building families, communities, nations, cultures, traditions, civilizations seem to be the primary vehicle using which we carry out the creation mandate and responsibility given to humanity in Genesis 1:26-28.
1.3 Not a Blanket Approval
Of course, Genesis 3:14-19 explains why these relationships are not as great as they could be, but the creation mandate remains, even as we flounder through it – so it is not a blanket approval of everything that goes in the name of family, culture, traditions, etc.
2. Made of Flesh and Spirit
Genesis also says that God made us physical matter (flesh) and spirit. God made humans in His image. He formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into him. We are all born physically in a nation of the world for which we have duties and responsibilities.
2.1 In the Spirit, Only Two Options
Since we are also of the spirit, there is a spiritual kingdom too. Since God is universal, there are ultimately only two choices in the spirit – either one wants to be in the kingdom of God or one does not want to be. The kingdom of God is not physically restricted. It is universal as God is universal. Jesus said in Luke 17:20-21: “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you”. That applies to people of all nations.
3. Being Born in the Spirit
3.1 Truth, Light, Eternal Life
A well-known ancient Indian prayer says:
From falsehood lead me to truth,
From darkness lead me to light,
From death lead me to immortality.
3.2 Light Has Come Into the World
Jesus talked of accepting/entering the kingdom of God as being born into it, as spirit (Just as we are born in a physical nation/kingdom in the physical realm). Jesus said to Nicodemus in John 3:6: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit… You must be born again”.
Jesus later adds in John 3:19-21: “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God”. This again applies to people of all nations.
4. Cherishing Who We Are
As humans made as flesh and of spirit, let us value, cherish and build our physical families, communities, nations, cultures, civilizations, but as made of spirit, let us also be born into the kingdom of God. Let us be the ones that live by the truth and come into the light – the light has come into the world!