Our Citizenship in Heaven is Forever

… our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.   (Philippians 3:20)

We are dual citizens. Whereas most of us are citizens of the United States, all of us are citizens of heaven.  We would be mistaken if we said we’re American citizens now and we’ll someday be citizens in heaven.  We are dual citizens right now.  As much as we might honor and be grateful that we’re American citizens, we need to recognize and celebrate that our heavenly citizenship is more ultimate. Our citizenship as Americans is finite; our citizenship in heaven is forever.

Most of us are born into being American citizens.  In order to become a citizen of heaven we need to be “born again” (see John 3:1-16). We can also become citizens of heaven through Jesus signing our immigration papers in his blood (see Revelation 12:11), or through getting married to Jesus in faith (see Revelation 21: 1f), or through being adopted by Jesus (see Galatians 4:1-7).

Jesus hopes that our citizenship in heaven will change and transform our citizenship on earth.  He wants us to bring the values, hopes, and expectations of our heavenly citizenship to our earthly one, so that this earth will be different by and through our dual citizenship.  Jesus doesn’t offer us a heavenly citizenship so that we’ll escape this “wicked world.” Jesus gives us our heavenly citizenship so that He can use us as “ambassadors” (see 2 Cor. 5:20) of heaven to earth.  Jesus wants His disciples to be colonies of heaven while we live on this earth.

As American citizens, we have certain rights and responsibilities. As citizens of heaven, we don’t have any rights but we do have responsibilities.  Jesus says we are responsible to confront prejudice, work for justice and peace, serve the poor and needy, and love our neighbors as ourselves.

I encourage us to claim our dual citizenship.  Jesus doesn’t want us to be so heavenly-minded that we’re no earthly-good.  Nor does he want us to be so earthly bound that we become foreigners, if not traitors, to our ultimate home.

Reflection Questions:

  1.  What do you think of being a dual citizen?
  1.  As citizens of heaven, we have no rights, but we do have many responsibilities. What are the responsibilities God has for you while you are living out your citizenship on earth?
  1.  Have you ever known someone who was so heavenly-minded, that they were no earthly-good? Or, someone who was so earthly bound, that they were a foreigner, even a traitor, to heaven? How are you living into the tension of your dual citizenship?

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