Your Heavenly Citizenship
Bible Reading: Philippians 3:12-21
Philippians 3:20-21, “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.”
We don’t think enough or talk enough or yearn enough for heaven. We’ve plenty of reason to do all those things, but we get so preoccupied with earthly affairs, we forget that this world is not our home. Our text speaks all about this…
Your citizenship is in heaven. It’s likely that most reading this are US citizens. I am too. I was born to that. I didn’t have to do anything to gain that privileged status. I have a passport. Anywhere I go in this world, I’ve that passport that identifies me to be a citizen of this country. But how does a person become a citizen of heaven? A person cannot be born to that, they must be born again to it, as John 1:12-13 explains: “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” When you trusted in Jesus, you became a citizen of heaven. That’s your home even now, positionally speaking (Ephesians 2:4-6). And just as a passport identifies you to be an American citizenship, the indwelling presence of the Spirit assures you of your heavenly citizenship.
So now you have a dual citizenship, but the benefits associated with your heavenly citizenship far outweigh those of your earthly one. Stop and consider this… You’ve been privileged to live in the most free and prosperous country in history. People from all around the world want to come here to America. As attested to by the thousands who are crossing our southern border every single day. Still, our heavenly citizenship is of infinitely greater value. Kings and kingdoms come and go. But heaven is forever (Hebrews 11:13-16, 12:28). All on earth suffers from corruption and decay because of sin. Not so heaven. We possess in heaven “an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you (1 Peter 1:4).” It will not perish. It is untouched by sin. It’ll never go away.
You know about politics. You know how there is constant conflict and divisiveness. So much so that it is literally tearing our country apart. But it is different with heaven. No earthly leader of any country is perfect. We are all sinners by birth, and they are, too. But in heaven, we’ve a perfect ruler. Jesus is even now the ruler of the kings of the earth (Revelation 1:5). He does all things well. There will come a day when every knee will bow and every tongue confess Him as Lord. And rightly so, for He is our creator and our Savior. He is rich in grace and mercy. He cares so much that He willingly gave Himself up for our sins. He is all wise and can never make a wrong decision about anything. He has the power to subject all things to Himself. He is a perfect King and His is a perfect Kingdom.
There will be a lot of “no longers” in heaven. A lot of things will be missing when we get there: “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away’ (Revelation 21:3-4).” No longer any death, or mourning, or crying, or pain or sin! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve shared this passage as a hospice chaplain.
I remember one particular situation. I had visited our hospice patient over many weeks. He and his family had become dear friends. He was a believer and had the hope of heaven. Knowing of my wife’s long time battle with cancer, he would always pray for her—every single visit His time on earth was drawing to a close, and I made one last visit to him. He was there in his bed, no longer able to get around. I sensed he could still hear what I was telling him. And I said to him much of what we’d talked about before. God had a place prepared for him where the pain and tears and troubles would be no more. God would take care of his family. Soon, he’d open his eyes to the glory of Jesus and heaven. I prayed. On the way back to the office, we received news that he had made his journey home. You know, later I attended his funeral service. It was not as somber as it would otherwise have been, because we all knew that my friend was a citizen of heaven and that he had at last made his way home!
The greatest thing about heaven will be seeing Jesus. Scripture tells us that we will marvel at Him when we see Him (2 Thessalonians 1:10)! It is a matter which transcends our earthly ability to grasp. We will be restored to what God intended for us before sin entered in. In the presence of Jesus, all of our desires and needs will be finally and perfectly met. And we will be reunited with those who have gone on before us. As the song says, “Friends will be there I have loved long ago; joy like a river around me will flow; yet just a smile from my Savior, I know, will through the ages be glory for me!”
You’ve two citizenships, but the one is of infinitely more value for it foretells of a perfect and eternal place. Be very glad for your heavenly citizenship as you eagerly await Jesus’ return!
A CHILD OF THE KING
My Father is rich in houses and land,
He holdeth the wealth of the world in His hands!
Of rubies and diamonds, of silver and gold,
His coffers are full, He has riches untold.
I’m a child of the King,
A child of the King,
With Jesus my Savior,
I’m a child of the King.
My Father’s own Son, the Savior of men,
Once wandered on earth as the poorest of them;
But now He is reigning for ever on high,
And will give me a home in heav’n by and by. [Refrain]
I once was an outcast stranger on earth,
A sinner by choice and an alien by birth;
But I’ve been adopted, my name’s written down,
An heir to a mansion, a robe and a crown. [Refrain]
A tent or a cottage, why should I care?
They’re building a palace for me over there;
Though exiled from home, yet still may I sing:
All glory to God, I’m a child of the King. [Refrain]