I was listening to some music by Superhero yesterday, and this idea in the lyrics really struck me. "We've crossed a state divide, jurisdiction has been denied." Called El Nino, it's about living in God's state, under God's laws and jurisdiction. I can't find it on YouTube for you, sorry, but you'll just have to take my word for it. A brilliant song.
Anyway, it got me thinking about salvation, and jurisdiction and things along those lines (hence the title...). When you become a Christian, jurisdiction is denied. You're in a different place, living on this planet but not of this earth (to quote another lyric by the same band...). 'We're in El Nino State, a state of mind'. We have Jesus in us, working through us, and we don't have to worry about people on this earth. They have no jurisdiction, no authority over us. I'm not saying go out and start killing people or any of that--what I am saying is this: don't let anyone get you down, put you down, make you feel worthless. You belong to a different state, a state where you have worth and meaning. We're ambassadors here. We're showing the world a different way of living, a way that means something, a way that gives value to those who feel worthless, a way that lifts up those who have been trodden on, which gives hope to the broken hearted. Ambassadors don't belong to the country in which they're staying. They don't belong to those rules, those customs, those people. They're separate, and because of that, they're protected. Ambassadors are in a bit of a curious position really. They're living in a country, but they're not subjects of it, and they can't be punished/prosecuted by that country (unless the country feels like making a bit of a point). All that can be done to them is that they get expelled.
I'm not saying that makes it all easy. It can be quite tough being an ambassador. People will think your customs and ways of doing things are weird, because to them they are weird. Loving people unconditionally, forgiving each other, that sort of thing is not normal for this world. But it is normal in the state you belong to if you're a Christian. Sorry, this is slightly rambling, but I think it's important. The world which has jurisdiction over me does not believe in punishment--that's been dealt with. I believe in grace, complete grace, complete forgiveness, complete freedom. That doesn't mean I go out and get drunk every night, that I cause chaos on this planet. No. It means that I act out of gratitude for that grace and forgiveness. It's a bit like this. You have a best friend, you're really close, and they can see that what you're doing isn't good for you. As a close friend, they feel they have to tell you about that, and they do. You have a choice to listen to them or not, but they're your friend, listening to them is probably a good idea, especially if they can see something you can't. It's a bit like that with God. You don't have to listen--God'll still forgive you even if you don't. But it's a heck of a lot easier if you do listen. Grace doesn't mean no consequences on earth. If I go out having casual sex, there might very well be consequences from that--I'm not immune. God put a world in place, and then he gave us a guide book on how to use it (including don't have sex outside marriage). It's like having a manual--you might be able to use something without reading the manual, it might even seem to be working just fine, but if you're not using it in the way it was meant to be used, you risk breaking it.
So, jurisdiction has been denied. We've crossed a state divide. God's got a hold of us, and He'll protect us.