Philippians | Day Eight
By: Taylor Flatt
We might not think of our citizenship often, but it’s a crucial part of the life we’ve been living. Many of us are granted rights, given protection, and guaranteed freedom because of the free nation we live in.
We haven’t done anything to earn our rights, protection, and freedom, yet we receive the perks of our citizenship. Our friend Paul reminds us of this truth relevant about our citizenship of Heaven today.
Read Philippians 3:17-21. As believers in Christ, where do we claim citizenship?
What does it mean to have citizenship?
Merriam-Webster defines a citizen this way: “An inhabitant of a city or town; especially one entitled to the rights and privileges of a freeman.”
Paul understood the power of our spiritual citizenship through his experience with his earthly one.
Read Acts 22:22-29.
Paul went to Jerusalem to continue preaching the Gospel and ends up getting arrested by the Roman guard. (Unfortunately, this seems pretty common for our friend, Paul). However, once Paul is arrested by the Roman centurions, he explains to them that he’s actually a Roman citizen himself. Knowing they cannot beat a Roman citizen without cause, they ask him if he bought his Roman citizenship. It would have been incredibly expensive to do so, but Paul explains he is Roman by birth; born a citizen. He was legally free and immediately released.
Paul was born a citizen of Rome. He didn’t have to pay for his citizenship and he did nothing to earn it.
With this experience in mind, we gain more context of what Paul was thinking when he penned the words in verse 20.
Our citizenship is in heaven.
Just like Paul claimed his Roman citizenship for salvation from a beating in Jerusalem, he is able to claim his heavenly citizenship for salvation forever. And we get to do the same.
We could never earn heaven as a home for our ourselves. Someone paid the price for us--a very high, costly price. Therefore, we receive all of the benefits of citizenship because Jesus bought our citizenship. We too experience freedom and salvation!
As citizens of heaven, we are guaranteed many things. We inherit the promises of God to His people. We are given the Holy Spirit. We receive salvation and forgiveness from our sin. And ultimately we are promised life--true, eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven.
You see, we’ve been spending a lot of time in this study talking about what it means to live a full life in the purpose and the presence of Jesus Christ. But we need to know that living isn’t just about breathing. Life is about knowing Jesus. And if we believe Jesus is the Son of God, our life does not end when we leave our earthly body. As a citizen of heaven. we get to live, in the Kingdom of Heaven forever and ever.
But we have to keep our heavenly citizenship in mind as we attempt to truly live here on earth.
Why do you think it’s valuable to live with eternity in mind?
Living with eternity in mind means being able to see the greater picture. When we can see the greater picture, we can see the whole story from the beginning to the end. Knowing we are a citizen of heaven means that we know the ending to our story. This should produce a deep joy that goes beyond your immediate circumstances.
Take some time to thank God for your heavenly citizenship and think about these questions.
Have you been living with eternity in mind or have you been too focused on earthly things?
What steps can you take to live with eternity in mind?