Our Heavenly Homeland
Read Philippians 3:20 (ESV)
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ...
How does being a citizen of heaven change your perspective and your behavior?
This past Memorial Day, I reminded my kids of the sacrifices that many made to secure and protect the freedoms and privileges that we get to enjoy as citizens of the United States of America. I am proud to be an American citizen. Because I am proud of my citizenship, I follow the laws of the land and perform my civic duties.
Just as I am a proud American, the Philippians were proud Romans. They considered it an honor and a privilege to be a colony of the great Roman empire. Even though they were hundreds of miles from Rome, Philippians were registered Romans. Likewise, as an American citizen, my birth certificate, driver’s license, social security card, and passport all identify me as a registered American.
But in today’s verse, Paul says that despite records of their official status as Romans, their true citizenship is in heaven. The writer of Hebrews wrote something similar about the Old Testament faithful: “...they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city” (Hebrews 11:13b-16).
The Old Testament faithful were strangers and exiles on earth. The Philippians who had trusted in Jesus Christ as their Lord were now also foreigners in this world. And so are we! My documents say that I am an American citizen but really, I am alien here! My primary citizenship is in heaven, not in the USA. No matter what country you call home on this planet, if you belong to Jesus, you don’t really belong there. You are a sojourner. Your homeland is in heaven!
Revelation 21 describes our future heavenly home and it promises to be a much better country than any worldly one. No crying, no pain, no death, no evil, unparalleled beauty, a city of light, God in our midst, and Jesus as our King! But in order to gain admittance, Revelation 21:27 says we must have our names written in the Lamb's book of life. The book of life documents that we are registered citizens of heaven.
Friend, is your name written in the Lamb’s book of life? Have you confessed Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Jesus reassures us that if we’ve confessed Him, He will confess our names before God in heaven (Matt.10:32-33) and that our names are written down in heaven forever (Luke 10:20). When we proclaim Christ as Lord, we become documented citizens of God’s heavenly kingdom. Given this heavenly citizenship, we should act like proud citizens. We should obey our King and remain loyal to Him, we should participate in the civic duties He has given us, and we should be prepared to sacrifice for our King and our fellow countrymen (other believers).
Most importantly, we should be eagerly awaiting our Savior. The promise of His return should give us hope. The Philippians weren’t supposed to place their faith in Caesar, and we shouldn’t place our faith in any president. No matter what is happening here on earth, our hope is heaven and our faith is in Christ. We know that this world is our temporary residence. We’ll be heading home soon!
Jesus, You are my King and I long for my heavenly home with You. I know it won’t just be a better country—it will be a perfect one. As I sojourn in this land though, help me to be a good ambassador for You. Amen.