November 24, 2017

Allegiance

By Don Martin

By "allegiance" we have reference to loyalty and devotion. Perhaps the greatest statement found in God's Book concerning allegiance is Matt. 6:23, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." When Jesus stated that we are to seek first the kingdom of God, He was teaching that our chief aim in life is to be the securing of God's favor and the continuation of a good relationship with God. In enjoining seeking God's righteousness first, He is teaching that our paramount goal is to be the performance of God's laws and commands, His righteousness. Herein is allegiance. Not primary loyalty to man, but loyalty and devotion to the God of heaven.

Your writer is convinced that many of the problems we are presently experiencing stem from a misplaced allegiance. Man often wants to exercise devotion to God but frequently this allegiance is secondary rather than primary.

Husband-wife Relationship. Needless to say, there are many problems relative to marriage. The divorce rate is approaching 50 percent (one out of two marriages). Many marriages which remain intact are plagued with bitterness, strife, and unhappiness. Man has failed to learn that a marriage can be enhanced and enriched by the couples allegiance to God. Now, I am not suggesting that the husband and wife are not to have love one for the other and be devoted one to the other; rather, their devotion is to be primarily in God and then secondarily in one another. A man should be faithful to his wife because of his loyalty to God and secondarily because of his loyalty to his wife.

God has told man how to have a happy marriage (Eph. 5:22-33). Husbands are to love their wives, even as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it (vs. 25); they are to leave all others and be joined to their wife (vs. 31). Wives are to subject themselves unto their own husbands (vs. 22), and reverence them (vs. 33). When men and women are loyal to God they will keep these commandments and will thus be loyal to each other. However, when man reverses this allegiance, there are often difficulties. Human devotion alone is not always strong enough to result in marital concord and fidelity.

Children parent Relationship. It is also evident that there are not a few difficulties regarding the rearing of children. That children are to obey their parents is taught throughout the Bible (cf. Ex. 20:12; Deut. 21:1821; Prov. 23:22; Eph. 6:1). Paul taught, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right" (Eph. 6:1). But where should the child's primary allegiance be in his parents or God? Beloved, children ought to obey their parents out of devotion and loyalty to God. I suggest that in some cases we have committed grave and far-reaching mistakes regarding the rearing of our children. We tell our children that they ought to obey a command which we have given them because we have given it. While, in a sense, this is true I am afraid such is teaching children to center their devotion around us as their parents instead of God.

Not infrequently, children who are brought-up by God fearing parents become spiritually indifferent when they leave home. Perhaps in some cases this is the problem-we have instilled primary devotion and allegiance in them to us and not to God. We would do well to tell our children that they ought to obey us as their parents because God has required them to. The difference is in primary and secondary allegiance.

Local Church. The Christian has numerous responsibilities pertaining to and involving the local church of which he is a member. He is commanded to attend (Acts 2:42, Heb. 10:25), partake of the Lord's Supper (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:20-34), give of his means (1 Cor. 16:1,2), and admonish others through the singing of spiritual songs (Eph. 5:19, Col. 3:16). He is to be interested and concerned in the local church and assist in the execution of her mission (1 Tim. 3:15; Eph. 4:11-16).

Frequently, I am persuaded, members develope a primary loyalty to the local church of which they are a member instead of to the Lord. They attend, give, and become involved not because of devotion to God foremostly but because of their attachment to the local church. As long as the local church is characterized by peace and unity these members are happy. But when things do not go right in the church, their devotion is destroyed and shattered. Perhaps, we encourage this allegiance by using such language as "they quit the church." Maybe we ought to say, "they quit the Lord."

Beloved, we are to faithfully exercise our responsibilities to the local church of which we are a member because of our loyalty and allegiance to God. If our devotion is directed to God, we will not lose faith when problems arise in the local church.

Duties to Others. Each child of God has duties to perform regarding other individuals. We have the priviledge and duty of endeavoring to teach the lost (Acts 8:4; Phil. 2:16). We are to warn the unruly, comfort the fainthearted, and support the weak (1 Thess. 5:14). Those who are overtaken in a fault are to be restored in the spirit of meekness (Gal. 6:1). I am afraid that we sometimes are motivated in the performance of these duties out of primary devotion to people and not to God.

Concerned reader, the burden of this article is not to de-emphasize our duties to our husband or wife, parents, local church, and our fellowman but to emphasize the proper allegiance and motiviation involved. We are to be faithful regarding marital duties, domestic requirements, activities involving the local church, and responsibilities pertaining to others because of our parmount allegiance and loyalty to God. If our devotion. is not in God, our religion will be shallow and superficial. It will not last because man will let us down.

Truth Magazine XXII: 28, pp. 461-462
July 20, 1978

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