Who am I? That is the question I have been trying to answer for both of us! Who am I? What is my identity? Well, in Christ your identity changes completely, as we have seen! You can check out yesterday’s post or any other post in this series and hopefully find some helpful answers here: Who Am I? Table of Contents.
Today, let us examine the fact that if you and I are in Christ we are citizens of Heaven. We are sojourners in a strange land now. Much like the Israelites we are wandering and waiting for God to provide us the land of promise!
Philippians 3:17–21 (ESV)
17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 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.
This present world provides an insecure citizenship. Being an enemy of the cross is a serious thing! And such were we! Our end was destruction and we gloried in our sin. We had our minds set on earthly things that would pass away eventually.
Paul encourages his readers to imitate him and watch others who are doing the same by setting for them an example! Who you hang out with, who you are friends with, and even where you go to church shapes the type of life you lead. Paul lived an exemplary life along with many other great men of his time. We don’t have the luxury of hanging out with an apostle today, but we sure do have many great men and women who lead God-honoring lives that we can imitate.
I myself am very thankful for the Christian home I was raised in. My whole immediate family is saved and most of my extended family on my mother and father’s side are saved as well. I grew up in the church since my dad was and still is a pastor. I had the luxury of having good examples to follow. However, many people, maybe even you, did not. But, it is not too late! Get plugged into a church. Make Christian friends that will show you how to live a God-honoring life. Observe the families that go to your church and see how they interact with each other as well as fellow church members. You might be surprised with what you see.
But, enough of that…. My topic is citizenship! Yet, who you imitate does show your true heart. Paul exhorts believers to imitate him instead of those who are enemies of the cross. If you are a Christian you should live like a Christian, not like those in the world. See how they live? They live lives that dishonor God because they are not in Christ. Their mind is set on earthly things. Ours, if we are in Christ, should not be set on earthly things.
But our citizenship is in heaven,
We are in this world, but we are not of it.
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.
People of the world have for centuries, tried to expand the human life span. They all place their hope in medicine or technology to preserve their lives from death. And even if they say they do not fear death, often times they really do. For the unbeliever, death is a hard thing to see as a positive. For them, death is the end. Or if they happen to believe in heaven but have not trusted Christ, then heaven becomes a false hope.
This is not true for the believer. Our hope does not lie in false assurances that we will never die or may or may not go to heaven. No, heaven is a sure promise for us. I can say that because our hope lies in the Resurrection. If we had only the security of this world we would have no hope. But, we do have hope and it is all because our citizenship is in heaven. Because of Christ’s Resurrection, we have the hope of being with him forever. Death has been defeated. Because he was raised, those in him will also be raised. We no longer fear death, but see it as the gateway to seeing our Lord and Savior.
Our hope is not laid up, or at least shouldn’t be laid up, in things of this world. The house you take pride in will fall apart some day, the bottles of alcohol scattered about your house provided perhaps a temporary reprieve from pain but it will not last, all your money in the bank will one day be spent, and all you possess will go to someone else. Even your own body will waste away. I enjoy going to the gym to “perfect” my body, but ultimately when I am 70 I will not look the same. All those hard hours at the gym to make my body perfect will mean nothing since age is a factor.
There comes a day though when we will no longer have to worry about all that stuff. A day comes when Christ will return and we will be given glorified bodies. We will be transformed in the twinkling of an eye! And the power that changes us from our lowly bodies to a glorified body is the power of the King of Heaven, who subjects all things to himself.
Our citizenship is in heaven and one day we will be with our King. Until then we carry the responsibility to be servants of the King and obey his will. Israel still had to obey God while they waited for the Promised Land. They were the visible representatives of the invisible God to the nations. We too must represent the King and his Kingdom, in which we are citizens.