Do You Have Dual Citizenship?

3699118745_2aef901f13_mSeveral years before the USSR dissolved, beginning in 1989, Kathleen and I traveled to Estonia, then one of the Soviet socialist republics. Landing there, we immediately felt the fear-generating policies of a repressive Communist government.

It was their law that we would be taken from the dock to our hotel by a government-run taxi and would stay in an Intel Soviet-run hotel. We were given no choices and we were expecting this lack of personal freedom.

Upon checking in at the hotel, however, we learned we had to surrender our passports at the front desk for the duration of our stay. That news quickened the pulse a bit. Our little dark blue document said we were Canadians and we knew, if ever needed, we could call upon our government for help. Who would want to give that assurance up?

Passports validate citizenship. Travelling the world can be fun but we all need a specific citizenship as an anchor point. The Apostle Paul uses this civic blessing as an analogy to assure Christians of their anchor point — their home of the soul. To the young church in Philippi he wrote:

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body (Philippians 3:20, 21).

That is, if we have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ for the salvation of our souls and trusted his atoning sacrifice to wash away our sins, we have a citizenship in heaven. We have one foot there now, and certainly that’s where we belong in an ultimate sense.

That’s what Paul means when he says we eagerly await a savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will become like his glorious body.

You will see that this wonderful passage includes allusions to the widely promised second coming of Christ and the resurrection of our bodies, plus the positive results here and now of those coming events. Citizenship in heaven! Incorruptible bodies! The passage is one of the gems of the New Testament.

At the same time we are now in a world that is “fallen.” So in a sense our heavenly citizenship is “not yet” to be claimed. That is, we must continue for now to live where every aspect of human existence is stained with evil that regularly shows its ugly face. It invades our businesses, corrupts our institutions and even shatters family relationships.

The words of Jesus and the epistles of the New Testament speak often of these evils and exhort us to avoid them. For example, Paul wrote to the Ephesian Christians: “So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking”.

There are present results to this citizenship in heaven. We listen when the Apostle Paul exhorts: “Avoid every kind of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22). We stand for Christ at each opportunity. We take our citizenship in this life seriously. But all the while we remember that we have a dual citizenship and our everlasting citizenship is in heaven.

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Photo credit: Kirstie Warner (via flickr.com)

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3 thoughts on “Do You Have Dual Citizenship?

  1. Much of this great post is summed up for me with, “Passports validate citizenship.” A passport here is like St. John’s affirmation, “…that ye might know that you have eternal life.” I have my passport for heaven and home.
    Roy

  2. i’m thankful that I have duel citizenship. My citizenship here and now in Canada and my future everlasting heavenly citizenship that is “not yet” to be claimed. I am feeling blessed by your blog this week Bishop Bastian. I plan to meditate this more in the future during my quiet time. Thank you for sharing your insights on WordPress.
    Allan

  3. Pre glasnost , pre perestroika ,what a claustrophobic place Estonia must have been It must have felt uneasy being under the constant cold eye of ‘Big Brother’.How very different to being under the protective ,caring gaze of our heavenly Father ,who knows us ,each by name knows every hair on our head and feeling in our heart ,as a watchful parent.

    It’s a wonderful way of putting it that we believers who trust to Christ , have dual citizenship. Though living on earth,we have one foot in the heavenly kingdom. I have sometimes thought of that on accepting Christ into our hearts ,we become like amphibions. Amphibious,we live as in two dimensions – land and water. Both on material earth and in the water of the spirit. The notion of dual citizenship is a better analogy.

    Heavenly citizenship in a renewed body ,repaired and renovated ! A literal body that will be as real, perhaps more real ,than our earthly body.

    The apostle Paul says this,in his letter to the church at Phillipi –

    ‘’We look for the Savior,the Lord Jersus Christ : Who shall change our vile body ,that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body ‘’ Phillipians 3:20-21

    Furthermore, in his first letter, John says ‘’we shall be like Him’’ ( 1 John 3:2).We shall be transfigured and shine. Jesus gave us a glimpse of this at His transfiguration .We know how Moses and Elijah appeared at that time James ,in his letter,talks of our ‘low body’, which ‘’as the flower of the grass He shall pass away’’ ( James 1:10)

    Might not our bodies return to their pre- corrupted state, like Adam’s before his fall from grace ,when sin and death entered the world through Adam’s disobedience . Jesus Christ, the new Adam , who paid for our sins by His Passion , defeated death and so that we shall gain new , resurrected bodies,We shall be recognisable but renewed.Our new bodies will shine with a grace paid for by Christ’s sacrifice .What a wonderful transfiguration is promised ,such a great cause for joy !

    Our bodies change naturally,that we know.Once we were new born babies.Look how our bodies change through childhood into youth ,then adulthood and into middle age , then into old age. Throughout life every cell in our body changes many times.A final glorious change awaits. Paul anticipated a question we may want to ask,in his letter to the church at Corinth.He said –

    ‘’But someone will ask ,’’How are the dead raised ? With what kind of body will they come’’ ( 1 Corinthians 15:35 )

    The question is answered in Revelation 21:4 – 5 :

    ‘’And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes;and there shall be no more death ,neither sorrow ,nor crying,neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.And he that sat upon the throne said ,Behold I make all things new.And he said unto me ,Write : for these words are true and faithful’’ Rev 21:4-5 AV

    There we have it , Christ’s own personal ,true and faithful assurance that our former corrupt bodies shall have passed away and we shall have resurrection bodies,free of sickness and disease.

    As Christ’s apostle Paul went on to explain ,in his letter to the congregation at Corinth –

    ‘’ That which thou sowest is not quickened ,except it die ;and that which thou sowest ,not that body that shall be,but bare grain,it may chance of wheat,or of some other grain.But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased Him , and to every seed his own body’’ ( 1 Cor 15:36-8 )

    God will give us a body pleasing to Him Our bodies,sown in dishonour ,shall be raised in glory.
    ‘’It is sown in dishonour : it is raised in glory ‘’ ( 1 Corinthians 15:34 )

    We are promised incorruptible bodies ,glorified by God .As yet we live on fallen earth, stained with sin ,corrupt. But we live with Christ’s promise of heavenly citizenship,where we shall live with glorified resurrection bodies . So as we live here on fallen earth,we must live up to the heavenly bodies that await us. As dual citizens we live here but must look to our promised home and live up to it,avoiding ‘every kind of evil’ .Knowing our destination as eternal citizens of heaven, it is incumbent upon us to make the right choice and do God’s Will at every juncture of our earthly path.

    This Just Call Me Pastor blog reminds us ,while here on earth,we are citizens of God’s eternal city,His heavenly kingdom. We are dual citizens.We must choose to do God’s Will , avoid and resist every temptation to every kind of evil, along our earthly way.

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