Our Never-Ending Citizenship

A letter from a friend

       "For our citizenship is in heaven, from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be conformed to His glorious body...." Philippians 3:20-21

       "Therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and of the household of God..." Ephesians 2:19

Faced with unthinkable changes in our government, schools and churches, it helps to remember that we are first and foremost citizens of Heaven -- not of America. God's Kingdom is not of this world, and neither is our primary citizenship. People can take our worldly goods, but our most important treasures are the ones in Heaven, and nobody can harm those. (Luke 12:32-34)

We are also ambassadors for Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:20) An ambassador lives in a foreign country, surrounded by people with values and traditions and laws that conflict with those of his own homeland. An ambassador's primary allegiance is to his homeland, and to his own ruler, and to the laws of his homeland. When he can live like the "natives" without going contrary to the laws of his homeland, then he does so. But when he can't, then he doesn't. An example of that is Corrie ten Boom, who hid Jews and protected them from the Nazis.

Understanding what the psalmist meant when he spoke of "the fear of the Lord" is helpful. It encourages us to be faithful to God -- no matter what challenges we face. Jesus said,

"...whoever confesses [acknowledges] Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven."  Matthew 10:32-33

The Apostle John said something similar: "Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either..." (1 John 2:23) The Apostle Paul said, "if we deny Him, He also will deny us...." (2 Timothy 2:12)

Modern American churches often present an unbiblical picture of God -- one that is "warm and fuzzy" -- designed to please people and hide "the offense of the gospel." False teachers avoid unpopular topics like sin, hell and judgment. But Jesus talked about those things a lot. He was so concerned about them that he died a terrible death in order to save us from them.

When I read today's news, I often think about Psalm 2. It puts things in perspective. In that psalm, we see wicked rulers conspiring against God and His people. But then He shows us the big picture.  Those who rise up against Him will be crushed and broken "like a potter's vessel."

The bottom line is Romans 8:28. God will make ALL things work out for our long-term, eternal good because we believe His Word, trust in His grace, and have chosen to walk in His ways. Now Jesus tells us,

"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

"Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
      "Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure." 1 John 3:1-3

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