Heavenly Citizens

As I was reflecting this week on Philippians 3:15-21, I have been reminded of a wonderful truth the scripture teaches us as Christians. Philippians 3:20 states, “but our citizenship is in heaven, from which we eagerly await for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. The word used in the King James is “conversation”, but a better translation of the word is “citizenship”. The word used in the original Greek is politeuma. This is the word from which we get our English word politics and relates to the acts and duties of citizens.  This is a word that would have carried great weight with the Philippians due to the high value they placed on their Roman citizenship. Other translations help us to understand the true meaning of what the Word of God is teaching us today. Our true “citizenship” is in Heaven. We may be earthly citizens of the United States or some other country, but as a follower of Jesus Christ we ultimately belong to another kingdom.  Philippi was a Roman colony and as such would conduct the business of Rome even though it was separated from Rome by hundreds of miles.  Likewise, the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ should conduct itself as a colony of Heaven here on earth.  As citizens of this heavenly kingdom, we should seek to conduct ourselves in a way that would reflect the values, principles and priorities of the kingdom of God. 
 
This truth should impact the way we live in the here and now. The reality of the kingdom of God is here and now. Even though we await the full culmination of this kingdom according to God’s perfect timing, we enjoy the benefits of heavenly citizenship now. I am reminded of Ephesians 2:4-7, “But God, who is rich in mercy,  because of His great love  that He had for us,  made us alive  with the Messiah even though we were dead  in trespasses. You are saved by grace! Together with Christ Jesus He also raised us up and seated us in the heavens,  so that in the coming ages  He might display the immeasurable riches  of His grace through His kindness  to us in Christ Jesus.”  
 
To be in Christ Jesus means to be seated in the heavens and to enjoy heavenly fellowship and blessings today.  It also means that we await a future perfection that will last for all of eternity.  This is our hope for the future and our motivation for service in the kingdom of God in the present. C. S Lewis writes, “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did the most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next….It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.”  May it be said of us that we are not focused on “earthly things” but that our focus remains on that which is eternal.
 
In Christ,
Chad