You Are A Citizen Of Heaven! (Chapter 11)
Oh, my brothers and sisters in Christ... To the SAINTS by the works of Christ, I have such a great story to tell straight from the Truth of God's Word! This new "identification" (who we are) In Christ just keeps getting better and better, even deeper and deeper in our minds as we realize the reality of Christ's "finished" work! It seems the more meditation one gives toward what Christ has accomplished, the more meditation that is required, to go even further in the knowledge of our identity, doesn't it? Amen! That's just like our God! Glory to His wonderful Name forever! He didn't leave one thing undone on our behalf!
Bless the Lord, once we have been placed into Christ, our citizenship is no longer in this world. We have a "New Home" that awaits us in Heaven. This should give us a new perspective on how we deal with day-to-day life. It is so very easy to get caught up in our daily struggles and forget that all of it is just temporary. The Word of God has much to say about Heaven and those for whom it is prepared! Let's look into a little of it. Shall we? Amen!
"But our citizenship IS IN Heaven! And we eagerly await a Savior from there, The Lord, Jesus Christ!" - Philippians 3:20Friends? I know you won't find very many exclamation marks in your bible, but I just can't seem to write that verse without them! I can't even say it without getting excited! As plain as day, and despite how many people would try to make this complicated, SCRIPTURE says that as true children of God our citizenship IS... IN... HEAVEN! Scripture says it, so you can totally TRUST It! Amen!
As true children of God, we also "await OUR Savior from Heaven, our Lord, Jesus Christ!" Saints? Is this not so? Of course it is! I don't know one single, solitary brother or sister that does not look forward to the coming of our Savior, Jesus! What a glorious future! However, what I have noticed is a difference in the "level of reality" with which this exists within different individuals. Some see the words and think of it as some sort of Truth, but it is not large enough to dominate their lives. To others, this is so real, nothing can shake them in this present time, because they are so sure of their glorious future! My friend? Which one are you?
I submit to you, that the way you view your citizenship in Heaven drastically affects your attitude toward the things of this world. Most people do not realize this plays such a vital role in their lives concerning their mental well-being. And when anyone mis-understands this Truth, it erroneously robs them of so much that would have otherwise been so rewarding and possible in so many different ways.
Properly understanding this Truth enables us to live in continual Joy, though we might not always be "happy" with our circumstances. Properly understanding this Truth enables us to live in the reality of complete bodily healing, knowing that one day soon we will be in our glorified bodies, even if our current physical bodies are broken and/or riddled with disease. Properly understanding this can enable one to truly love an enemy, as you will understand the level of destruction they will ultimately endure should they not repent. Properly understanding this will give you sure Hope for your lost loved ones, knowing we have a Father that is just, but also more Gracious than what can be imagined. Properly understanding this will enable us to lean on the sure Hope of His promises to us, knowing His gifts are irrevocable, instead of wondering whether or not one day all these gifts will be taken away, and whether we, and our loved ones, will really "make it". Properly understanding we are a citizen of Heaven, once and for all, enables all these things and so very much more. Mis-understanding our citizenship will bring doubt in every facet of our relationship with God and rob us of our Joy.
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living Hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade - kept in Heaven for you!" - 1 Peter 1:3-4
Friends, do you understand how Peter describes our "inheritance" in Jesus Christ? As plainly as West Virginians are hillbilly's, Peter says our inheritance from God is something that can "never parish, spoil or fade!" Oh people! This is just the tip of a biblical iceberg that is trying It's best to explain to you that your eternal future with God is unshakable and unchangeable if you are truly born again!
Did you notice where this inheritance is kept? It's kept in Heaven... But to hear some people talk, you'd think it's kept by "you", in the palm of "your" hand. I mean, many people say "YOU" can "LOSE" your inheritance... For that to be so, "YOU" would have to have it in your own hands, wouldn't you? But your eternal inheritance isn't in your hands... It is "kept in Heaven"! Amen! Thank You Jesus! The major difference between this spiritual, unearthly, Heavenly, God given inheritance and all our other "earthly treasures"? It is eternal (can never parish) and it is forever "unchanging" (will never spoil or fade)! Isn't that something to just shout all over yourself about??!!?? Amen!
Please bear in mind! This IS ALL SCRIPTURE! Not Matt!
"But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in Heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect." - Hebrews 12:22-23The church in the passage is described as "the church of the firstborn". The names of those in the church are "written in Heaven". Now think about this next question: If our names are already written in Heaven, how should this affect our understanding of who we are in Christ? Interesting question, huh? Your answer will be even more valuable to you!
"That say will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with His promise we are looking forward to a new Heaven and a new earth, the Home of righteousness!" - 2 Peter 3:12-13Here's a little more prophecy from the Word of God. One day, what we know as the heavens and the earth today, will be destroyed completely. This will be an event that will NOT affect any born again child of God, all because we will have a "New Home"! Instead of total destruction which we at one time deserved, we can now look forward to a "new" Heaven and a "new" earth, a "new, permanent Home!" It should change your total outlook on life to really realize that your future is sure with God, as His children!
"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.The more you study of Paul and the life he lived, the more you become aware that his life was full of sever sufferings and tribulation, yet he considered them all as "not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us". In other words, his current circumstances, no matter how harsh, was not even worthy of thought compared to what lay ahead for him in his eternal future with the Lord Jesus Christ! The Truth of how things really are according to the Word of God, coupled with Paul's own faith in God and God's promises in Word and Spirit, is what enabled Paul to properly view his life in this way.
For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body." - Romans 8:18-23
That being said and fully realized, should we not view our present trials and tribulations in the same Way Paul did? If we find within ourselves that we differ from Paul, then you can only conclude that your understanding of God's Word and/or level of faith in God differs from that which Paul had. Our true and unchangeable Hope as children of God for ourselves and for creation is to be liberated from our bondage to decay, to be brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God! That is a Truth of God's Word, whether we know it or not, understand it or not... Truth never changes. And I am so glad that is so!
A Truth here is, because we are citizens of Heaven, we need not get too involved in the things of this world. It is God's job to change the world, which He will ultimately do. Our mission is to simply proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God, which is the only message that can bring lasting change to the hearts of men and women everywhere.
"Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands..." - 2 Corinthians 5:1Here, Paul is speaking symbolically. The "earthly tent" he mentions here is our own physical body. It will most definitely be destroyed, whether it be by old age, sickness, an accident maybe? Whatever way it is destroyed, rest assured it will be destroyed. This mortal body will die. Even in the case of Rapture, I do not think this flesh will be what passes on.
This body is very different form the "eternal" house, or body, we will receive. This current body is physical flesh. Our "eternal house"? Well, there's a great amount of speculation over what all that will be, but one thing pointed out in this scripture for sure is, it will be eternal! It will last FOREVER! That new, eternal house is built for the born again believer!
So. All this helps to confirm a couple of very important facts. One is, that God Himself has made for us a house in Heaven. The second is, if that house is eternal, then God wants us to live, with Him, FOREVER! Glory to God! I tell ya friends! This is better than hitting any lottery could ever dream of being!
Knowing that our names as born again children of God are written in Heaven and that we have a "guaranteed" Home when we leave this earth is a great comfort. To some more than others it seems. Yet if this is real inside one's heart, it will make a remarkable difference in your dominant attitude concerning life in all it's complexities. More than just a comfort, knowing we have an eternal Home gives us the "freedom" to walk in confidence that this earth is NOT our home. We can actually live beyond our circumstances in the Truth because we have an "eternal" perspective. Thank God, our identity is not based on circumstance but on the "unchanging promises" of God! ~ Amen~
Now. To have an eternal Home, there's something else we must have to make this possible... And that's "eternal life"! Amen? That'll be what we explore next in this series of writs! So sit back, relax, study, meditate upon, and pray about what we've found in the Word thus far. Good Lord willing, part 12 won't be long in coming! Amen!