All Roman Catholics, all Protestants, all Orthodox (Greek, Russian etc) all Coptics, call themselves ‘Christians’. Is this really so? In a sense they are correct, but in the fulness of truth they do not have Christian Citizenship!
Let me explain this by the way of my own personal civilian experience.
I was born in Northern Ireland and was made a ward of the British Court system at the age of 5. By being born in Ireland I also had the option of being an Irish citizen. At the age of 19 I decided to emigrate to the United States of America. My choices were to get an Irish passport or a British one. I opted to go completely legal and get release from being a ward of the British system, thus avoiding any problems later in life from that source.
I arrived in the USA in June 1956, and as requested by my alien status I made myself available to be drafted into the US Army for a two year period. In actual fact I enlisted for three years because of the benefits at the end of my tour of duty. When I joined the army, I was given a uniform with two labels on it: the first one was ‘U S Army’, and another label ‘Devlin’. I was an American, and American soldier, sworn to defend the United States. I was happy and proud to be an American – but I was an alien American and not an American citizen.
After being honorably discharged at the age of 24, I was legally qualified to apply for citizenship in my adopted country which had welcomed me in 1956. Having purchased and studied a book published by the Daughters of the American Revolution, application was made through the courts for citizenship, and after satisfying the judge that I knew some American history, he had me place my hand on my heart and swear allegiance to my new country – ‘one nation under God.’ A very happy American was now an American citizen! I had the same rights as every other citizen of the USA. America was good to me and I continually give thanks.
Similarly, when I was born, I was baptized about 30 days later. Made my first Confessions and Holy Communion at age7. Confirmed in the Holy Ghost at 11, and was then a full Christian Citizen. In the intervening years I lived up to the demands of the Catholic Church, adhered to the Seven Sacraments, the Precepts of the Church, and studied the Scriptures. In other words, I lived up to my commitments for Christian Citizenship.
The Seven Sacraments are the seven pillars of wisdom (Pr 9:1), which are the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven (Mt 16:19).
It is in our becoming a Christian Citizen, that we become one in Christ, and He becomes one in us. That is we are translated into the new man which is the Christian Citizen. There is only one way that this can be accomplished, and one way only – we must believe, live, and fulfill the Seven Sacraments of the Church as given to us by Jesus Himself. There are no exceptions and no short-cuts.
Jesus established the Seven Sacraments in Himself for our citizenship and oneness in Him. These Seven Sacraments allow man of his own free will to return to full citizenship in God.
First. At the Fall, in the act of disobedience, man fell from grace (Gn 3:24). The creature, made to the image of God was destroyed, but in the Sacrament of Baptism the way was made for man to be washed and renewed in God’s peace (Gn 8:11). Jesus established the Sacrament of Baptism by His Own baptism by John the Baptist in the Jordan (Mt 3:13-16).
Second. Man would continue to sin, and so God instituted the Sacrament of Confessions, for man to be made immaculate again. Jesus gave the ordained Apostles power to forgive sins: “Now when it was late the same day, the first of the week, and the doors were shut, where the disciples were gathered together for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst and said to them: Peace be to you…He said therefore to them again: Peace be to you. As the Father has sent Me, I also send you. When He had said this, He breathed on them and He said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them: and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained” (Jn 20:22-23). He also said: “Amen I say to you, whatsoever you shall bind upon earth, shall be bound also in Heaven: and whatsoever you shall loose upon earth, shall be loosed also in Heaven. Again I say to you, that if two of you shall consent upon earth, concerning anything whatsoever they shall ask, it shall be done to them by My Father Who is in Heaven” (Mt 18:18,19). See here the two, the priest and the penitent.
Third. God set up the Sacrament of Holy Communion, so that man could come back to unity in Him, and God could re-enter His creature – man, thus allowing man to return into holy co-union in God, which unity Adam gave away to Satan at the Fall. “Whilst they were at supper, Jesus took bread and blessed and broke and gave to His disciples and said: Take ye and eat. This is My Body. And taking the chalice, He gave thanks and gave to them, saying: Drink ye all of this” (Mt 28:26,27)…“And taking bread, He gave thanks and brake and gave to them, saying: This is My Body, which is given for you. Do this for a commemoration of Me” (Lk 22:19). (See also Jn 6:51-57).
Fourth. God recognized in man that the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak, and so, He established the Sacrament of Confirmation to assist man, to receive the Spirit of God, that is, the Holy Ghost, back into his life. Jesus promised:“I will ask the Father: and He shall give you another Paraclete, that He may abide with you for ever, the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it sees Him not, nor knows Him. But you shall know Him; because He shall abide with you and shall be in you. But the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My Name, He will teach you all things and bring all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall have said to you” (Jn 14:16,26). He told them: “And I send the promise of My Father upon you: but stay you in the city till you be endued with power from on high” (Lk 24:49). Then it was fulfilled: “And suddenly there came a sound from Heaven, as of a mighty wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them parted tongues, as it were of fire, and it sat upon every one of them, and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they began to speak with divers tongues, according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak” (Ac 2:2-4).
Fifth. At the Fall, the unity of man and woman in marriage was broken, and the evil one became an intruder in marriage. God established the Sacrament of Matrimony, whereby man and woman could return to holy unity in each other, symbolic of the unity of God and man. Jesus said: “But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female. For this cause, a man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall be in one flesh. Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder” (Mk 10:6-9). See the conformation of this in the marriage feast of Cana (Jn 2:1-11).
Sixth. At the Fall, man broke the priestly relationship with God, and man could no longer minister in God’s creation, because of his enslavement to the Devil. God established a way for man to minister to Him in purity and truth, through the Sacrament of Holy Order of the Priesthood. Jesus confirmed this: “And taking bread, He gave thanks and brake and gave to them, saying: This is My Body, which is given for you. Do this for a commemoration of Me…And you are they who have continued with Me in My temptations, and I dispose to you, as My Father has disposed to Me, a Kingdom, that you may eat and drink at My table in My Kingdom, and may sit upon thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Lk 22:19,28-30).
Seventh. At the Fall, man incurred the sin of death when he disobeyed God, and became subject to the eternal death of Satan. God established the Sacrament of Extreme Unction, allowing man to avoid eternal death, and come to the lasting and highest anointing, which we receive in Jesus – that is – Eternal Life. “And it came to pass afterwards that He went into a city that is called Naim…And when He came nigh to the gate of the city, behold a dead man was carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow…Whom when the Lord had seen, being moved with mercy towards her, He said to her: Weep not. And He came near and touched the bier. And they that carried it stood still. And He said: Young man, I say to thee, arise. And he that was dead sat up and begun to speak. And He gave him to his mother” (Lk 7:11-15). It is also written: “Is any man sick among you? Let him bring in the priests of the Church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the Name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick man. And the Lord shall raise him up, and if he be in sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess therefore your sins one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be saved. For the continual prayer of a just man avails much” (Jm 5:14-16).
He who denies any of these Sacraments denies Jesus Christ Who said: “He that shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father Who is in Heaven” (Mt 10:33). He also said: “Many are called, but few are chosen” (Mt 20:16).
In summary for Christian Citizenship:
The first two Sacraments, Baptism and Confessions, are given to us for our personal preparation in pleasing God.
The second two Sacraments, Holy Communion and Confirmation, are for our gaining co-union and unity in God.
The third two Sacraments, Matrimony and Holy Order, are for our perfection and station in life.
The last Sacrament, Extreme Unction, is the final anointing of our eternal unity forever in The Eternal Word, which is entrance into Heaven.
These are the requirements given by Jesus for Christian Citizenship. Some people may wear the uniform, but they may not necessarily be citizens! It is written: “I know your tribulation and your poverty, but you art rich. And you are blasphemed by them that say they are Jews and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan…Behold, I will bring of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but do lie. Behold, I will make them to come and adore before your feet. And they shall know that I have loved you” (Apoc 2:9;3:9).
It is only by keeping the Seven Sacraments given to us by God that we have Christian Citizenship: “Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners: but you are fellow citizens with the saints and the domestics of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone, in Whom all the building, being framed together, grows up into an holy temple in the Lord in Whom you also are built together into an habitation of God in the Spirit” (Ep 2:19-22).
I encourage all people to seek full citizenship in Christianity.