“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,” Philippians 3:20 NIV
Nearly everyone alive today can call themselves a citizen of somewhere. Citizenship is an important factor in identity. I was born in England and migrated to Australia as a child. Later as an adult I made the decision to become an Australian citizen. I not only live in Australia but I am Australian.
When we make the decision to follow Christ, we gain another citizenship. We become as it were, dual citizens, both of the country we are earthly citizens of, and of Heaven. We are not only living in Christ, but we are Christians.
Citizenship confers inalienable rights. We have the right to live in a country without fear of deportation. We have the protection of the laws and armed forces of our country to defend us from foes. We are under the protection of the rulers of our country, who should have the best interests of the citizens uppermost in their minds. Of course, in a broken, fallen world, there are nations where this is far from ideal in practice. Corruption has stained ideologies and the use of force and caused widespread disparity in living standards.
Not so in Heaven’s realm. Heaven is a kingdom, and a more righteous, benevolent King could never be found in all the nations of the Earth. Heaven is not only a place of migration after death, it is a kingdom for its earthly citizens as well. We have access to our King 24/7 through the power of prayer. We have His wise counsel and leading through His indwelling Holy Spirit, aka the Parakletos, translated as the “One who comes alongside”.
The Spirit of God also imbues His people with comfort in times of need. Jesus alone can comfort those who are suffering and grieving with the hope of Heaven and, in His words:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
As citizens of Heaven we have access to God’s protection. He has armies of angels at His disposal, ready to do His bidding. They fight in spiritual realms. They can be our guardians. God’s word tells us:
“Can the plunder be snatched from the mighty, or the captives of a tyrant be delivered? For this is what the LORD says: “Even the captives of the mighty will be taken away, and the plunder of a tyrant will be retrieved; I will contend with those who contend with you, and I will save your children. “ Isaiah 49:24,25
The Bible warns of apocalyptic times to come in human history, but also promises that evil will not prevail. Christ will return to claim His own people.
Citizenship confers great blessings, but it also involves responsibilities. Like an earthly kingdom, we are subject to laws. God’s laws were set in place for our own well-being and happiness. The ten commandments, as well as many other precepts found throughout the scriptures demonstrate God’s concern for us as individuals and in our relationships, both with Him and with each other. God created the world, not as a randomly chaotic realm but as one which operates on natural laws and processes. When we obey God’s laws we experience deep peace and joy. One cannot flout God’s laws and experience this.
We must be good citizens and ambassadors for Christ. Like a tourist overseas, our attitudes and behaviour reflect upon our country. Similarly, we must welcome the visitors to our own country by displaying what is attractive and unique, hospitable and inclusive about our homeland.
I would love you to visit Australia. It’s my homeland and a wonderful country. Even more, I would love to welcome you to the kingdom of Heaven, as brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ.
|Jo and camels, Uluru, Central Australia. The ride was amazing.|