We in the U.S (if you haven’t noticed) are in the middle of an election year. In light of the present threats we face, I believe that the outcome will be pivotal to this country. Without getting too political, let’s just say that I believe this election could mean the difference between a steep decline or restoration for our country.
As I think about the times we live in, I have to remember two things that bring me back to faith:
1) God ultimately rules over the offices of the government and our leaders. There is no one who holds a prominent position that has not, or will not be used for His purpose. (Romans 13:1).
2) Although we are citizens of this country, as Christians, we ultimately hold a greater citizenship in the kingdom of God:
Philippians 3:20 says, “Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ”.
This encourages me to focus on God’s great and mysterious plan until the day when He will make everything right. It got me thinking about what it means to call ourselves citizens of a given country. Then I looked at God’s word and what it says about our citizenship in heaven. Here’s a little perspective I thought you might enjoy:
Being a citizen means:
1) I have certain rights and privileges within the country to which I belong – Here in the states, it means many things, from voting to getting certain jobs.
Being a part of the kingdom of God means far more. For one, Galatians 4:4-7 tells us that we are given the undeserved privilege of being joint heirs with Christ Himself:
“But when the time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.”
2) I have the protection of citizenship – in the case of unrest or emergency, being a (US) citizen can be helpful to obtain assistance. We can seek asylum in U.S. Consulates or call upon the government while abroad.
Being a part of the kingdom of God is to be protected by Him from anything that would sever our inheritance or citizenship. We read in 1 Peter 1:4-5 of this inheritance:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
Just like citizenship does not come without certain requirements, notice here that this citizenship, this alliance with God comes to those who are born again, (made spiritually new) because of Christ’s death for us and His resurrection. This not only involves belief, but a covering of sin, obedience to Him, which is the righteousness of Christ. It is trust in Him alone, and living out of that faith as evidence of our salvation.
3) Last, being a citizen means I have a confirmed passage back into my country. For example, as a law-abiding individual, this status is meant to give me the security of knowing that I am recognized back into my home with relative ease.
I remember once many years ago when I was traveling abroad, when our borders were more secure. We had landed in New York, a very busy airport for international flights. I vividly remember airport security waving those of us with US passports right through the gate while a very long line of non-citizens were held back for further screening.
As great as this nation is, I’m pretty sure we will all want heaven’s gates to open to us even more. The word of God tells us clearly what will provide the only passage:
“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
May none of us ever know the frightening judgement of separation from God. If you have not done so, I plead with you today, in love and not condemnation, to trust Christ alone for His gift of salvation, while the gate is still open for you.