Earlier this week we celebrated the 4th of July, the day that we commemorate America’s declaration of independence from Great Britain. This is our most patriotic holiday, when we break out the red, white, and blue and remind ourselves of our forefather’s fight for freedom – freedom to be citizens of our own country without oppression and tyranny of other governments over our liberties and faith practices. Our unique history tends to make American’s patriotism the benchmark on the world stage.
As Christians who call America home, we enjoy dual citizenship. Some of us were born in the USA, and therefore, became automatic US citizens at birth. Others may have attained citizenship through marriage or other legal means. As full-fledged citizens, we share all the same rights, privileges, and benefits because our founding fathers declared and preserved them for future generations in our Constitution and Bill of Rights.
When we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, God also bestows on us an eternally greater citizenship. The gospel grants us full citizenship in heaven which cannot be revoked. Ephesians 2:19 says, “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.” Paul confirms that through Jesus Christ (and his sacrifice), we are no longer strangers and aliens to God in heaven. We are made citizens with full benefits because of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In Philippians, Paul further confirms our heavenly status as believers in Christ. “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20). Paul gives us the hope that our future is secure in Heaven. Despite the evil days and the persecutions on earth, our home in heaven is confirmed and we can look forward to our final destination when our time on earth in done. What a great hope! No matter what we are going through – illness, stress, danger, fear – we can always know that God has a room prepared for us.
Second Timothy 4:18 reads, “The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” The Apostle Paul is again confirming that we have a guaranteed place in heaven. The Lord will watch over our experience on earth, and safely usher us into His presence, when our time on earth is completed.
Lastly, our heavenly citizenship requires us to be ambassadors. If we wear our red, white, and blue on July 4th, how much more important is it that we carry the banner of Jesus Christ to a broken world? How much more important is it that we share the glory of God’s eternal kingdom as the kingdoms of this world continue to erode? As citizens of heaven we are God’s appointed representatives, and we should consider ourselves primarily as heaven’s patriots. Remind yourself today that you are a patriot of heaven, and see how that changes your view of the world and people around you.