Our Citizenship is in Heaven | April 4th, 2023
It was a warm, sunny day with beautiful blue skies. I couldn’t think of a better place to be than outdoors in nature at our nearby Arboretum and Botanical Garden. A quick look around and it was easy to see Spring had arrived! The tulips were blooming in every color and design imaginable. God’s display of creativity could be visibly seen all around me in stunning detail!
As I began to photograph these brightly colored blooms, many varieties of which I had never seen, I started imagining my heavenly Home. To think this was only a taste of what awaits us in eternity! Not meant to satisfy, but to give us a hunger for more of God’s glory. And that, it did.
The book of Revelation details an exquisite description of the kingdom of heaven. The vivid colors of these flowers reminded me of the many radiant gemstones that will adorn the foundations of the wall of our forever Home!
The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. Revelation 21:19-20
The white is a beautiful representation of the pearls and the yellow of the street of pure gold. To try to visualize, this is beyond magnificent!
And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass. Revelation 21:21
If you’ve ever hung a work of art painted by a talented artist, you know how important it is to have it illuminated to truly be able to appreciate its beauty. Imagine these precious gemstones illuminated with the light of the glory of God! Oh, how they will sparkle and shine!
And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. Revelation 21:23
Our Heavenly Citizenship
It is amazing to realize this place of splendor is our future Home where we have even now been given citizenship!
I remember when my friend, born and raised in Iran, couldn’t wait to become a citizen of the United States once she was an adult. It took a long time of waiting and much patience. When that day finally arrived, it was truly a day of celebration and joy! She would now be able to take part in all the benefits of living in freedom and protection that the U.S. offered to her. And it was permanent. She would never lose her citizenship.
When we are born again by putting our faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior, we are granted citizenship in heaven, the kingdom of God.
Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3
And we have a “passport” to guarantee it which is the seal of the Holy Spirit!
In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:13-14
When one becomes a citizen, they are expected to uphold certain responsibilities as a representative of that country. They are to obey the laws, learn the language, serve in their local community, and give their allegiance. Out of immense gratitude, the desire to give back and do what is good for their country is a natural response.
When we become a citizen of heaven, we represent Christ and are expected to obey God’s laws, speak as one would who follows Him closely, serve others generously with our gifts, and give Him our allegiance by honoring Him alone. And why wouldn’t we want to? He is the One who has made it all possible through His death on the cross, burial, and resurrection from the dead. He took the punishment that we deserved so we could be made righteous through Him. When we admit we cannot save ourselves from our sin and rely completely on Christ to save us, we are made citizens of heaven. That is the Good News!
Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Philippians 1:27a
The Benefits of our Citizenship
Our passport, the Holy Spirit, not only seals us so we can never lose our salvation, but He also comes along beside us as our Helper so we can live and grow to be more like Christ by transforming our sinful, worldly desires into those that bring glory to God.
And He does so much more! He guides us into all truth by teaching and giving us wisdom and understanding when we read God’s Word, convicts us when we sin, comforts us in our suffering, helps us in our weakness, and intercedes for us when we don’t even know how to pray or what we should pray for.
Our heavenly citizenship includes freedom from worry that we haven’t done enough to earn it. Our best efforts are as filthy rags compared to God’s standard of righteousness. It is by His grace alone through faith, not by our good works, that saves us. We cannot boast about earning any part of our salvation. It is a free gift!
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
We are also given complete protection as a citizen of heaven. We can never lose our salvation. It is not dependent upon us to keep our citizenship once it’s been given to us. If it was, we would surely lose it!
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. John 10:27-28
Life on Earth is Temporary
For me, this life on earth is a lot like camping. Without all the comforts of home, camping is just not that enjoyable. And it’s dirty. But thankfully, it’s also temporary! Our life here on earth is also without the comforts of our perfect, eternal Home – and it’s dirty. There is so much sin and evil all around us. At times, it feels unbearable to be this close to it.
While we are here, we endure hard trials, suffering, grief, and pain. Everything we have in this life is uncertain and can be taken from us at any moment. We can lose our loved ones, our income, our home, and our health. But thankfully, this life is temporary. We only have to spend a short time here before we arrive in our heavenly Home, an inheritance beyond all imagination. It has every comfort we could ever ask for along with pure joy, unconditional love, the strongest security, lasting freedom, and a perfect peace that never ends. Best of all, we get to be face to face with Jesus!
In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1:6-7
A New Perspective
Knowing of our true citizenship and final destiny in heaven should change our perspective on life and give us continual motivation to keep going till we reach the end of our difficult journey here. If we are walking worthy of our heavenly citizenship, there is no reason to ever become fixated on the trivial matters of this world that bring on a heavy burden of stress and are so fleeting. Instead, our focus should be turned toward that which has eternal significance as we represent Christ by bringing Him glory with the way we live, storing up our treasures in heaven. Nothing we accumulate on this earth for ourselves will last.
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. Philippians 3:20-21
The closer we are to Jesus, the more we will feel like a foreigner in this world, quickly losing interest in the “thrills” it offers. Everything pales in comparison to what God has in store for us in our eternal Home.
How gracious it is of the Lord to provide these beautiful reminders in nature as a taste of what awaits us in eternity. May we sparkle and shine like those heavenly gemstones, knowing we are citizens of a place filled with God’s splendor and glory beyond all imagination!
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