First a Citizen of Heaven

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.”

Philippians 3:20-21

America as we know it is disintegrating — devolving into a lawless land of the godless and profane. It is clear that there is a considerable percentage of the population that wants to fundamentally destroy the cherished American ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Like so many who have enjoyed the privileges and benefitted from the blessings of this once great country, it deeply grieves me to admit that I don’t recognize America anymore.

Just in the first half of 2020, we have witnessed an unprecedented overreach of government during the Covid-19 “scamdemic” and an all-out assault on our most basic constitutional rights.

We have seen unrestrained lawlessness in the streets of our cities, where rioters and looters are propped up and celebrated as heroes of social justice. But at the same time, law enforcement is being disparaged and maligned as public enemy number one. Politicians and high-profile celebrities now are leading the movement to eradicate what they call “systemic racism” by defunding and dismantling the police.

Social division and political unrest continues to intensify, causing more than 1/3 of American citizens to consider the real possibility of another civil war.

We have seen within the last week that the Supreme Court of the United States considers churches to be “non-essential,” effectively denying our First Amendment rights to exercise freedom of religion and to peaceably assemble. The court clearly showed its disregard for the fact that churches have received unequal treatment during the Covid-19 lockdowns compared to other businesses and enterprises.

To make matters worse, that same Supreme Court legislated from the bench by ripping the Civil Rights Act of 1964 out of its original context and reinterpreting it to protect the LGBGT community. As a result of this decision, businesses, schools, and even churches who deny employment to homosexual or transgender applicants on the basis of religious liberty and conscience can now be criminally charged and legally punished.

I could go on and on, but you get the point.

Or maybe you don’t. Maybe you feel just as strongly that this constitutional republic needs to be dissolved and replaced with a new, progressive America. Maybe you have bought into the notion that socialism would be a better alternative to bring true equality to the people and resolve all our problems.

Maybe you hate America. Maybe you are ashamed or guilty of being an American citizen.

I for one am grateful to have been born into the greatest nation in the world and enjoyed the freedom that American ideals have afforded me. Although I am not blindly patriotic nor unaware of the past sins of our nation, I am not ashamed to say that I am proud to be an American.

Despite all the ugly … I still believe America has been the greatest beacon of light and liberty the modern world has ever seen. Maybe that’s why millions seek to immigrate to America every year. It remains the greatest land of opportunity on earth.

But ultimately I realize that the American dream is not the Kingdom dream. American destiny is not an eternal destiny. And my American citizenship is not my primary citizenship. As a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, I have been granted citizenship in a far greater land — the Kingdom of Heaven!

From Stranger to Son

“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.”

Ephesians 2:19

America could fall apart today, and I could be declared an enemy of the state. But no one can revoke my citizenship in heaven. The redemptive work of Jesus Christ transcends and triumphs over all man-made institutions and governments. Only Christ can secure citizenship for our souls, and nothing in all creation can separate us from Him.

As a Gentile sinner, I once was outside of the commonwealth of God’s Kingdom and living in abject rebellion to the King of kings. I was a foreigner, an outsider, an wayward wanderer and total stranger to God.

Jesus changed that by paying my ransom and reconciling me to God. The Father has adopted me into His own family as a son and granted me citizenship in His Kingdom.

No one says it better than the Apostle Peter.

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”

1 Peter 2:9-10

The LORD will bring us Home

There is a reason this world is unsatisfying. There is an inner frustration and longing for our true home — our heavenly home. Jesus reminds us that while we are forced to live in this world, we are not of this world. We may be born an American citizen, but we must be born again as a Kingdom citizen.

It is so easy to grow comfortable in this world and become attached to the fleeting pleasures and pursuits of the world. But as God’s children and citizens of heaven, we should set our hopes and hearts on that which is above, not below — upon that which is eternal and not temporal.

Jesus Christ will return in all His glory and power to establish His eternal Kingdom on this earth. Until then, whether we go to Him or He comes to us, we belong to Him.

We take heart and find hope in knowing that the LORD will bring us home in the end.

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”

John 14:1-3

And until that day, we wait patiently for a better country that He has promised to all who love Him. Our home is in the distance, but it is drawing ever so near.

“These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that 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 …

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.”

Hebrews 11:13-16, 12:22-24

Maranatha!

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