Saturday, January 24, 2015

Identity in Christ - 10 (Citizen of Heaven)

In the passage where Paul proclaims we are citizens of heaven, he is urging followers of Christ to live a new lifestyle. Live a lifestyle that he himself models. There are many who proclaim their allegiance to Jesus, but they do not have a lifestyle that demonstrates it. If our allegiance is to Jesus, our first consideration is Jesus. Does our lifestyle agree with Jesus? Does it honor Jesus? Does it present him positively? There are people who say they are aligned with Jesus, but their behavior shows their primary pursuit is their own appetites.

The passage says that such people are headed for destruction. Many interpret this as such people will receive God's divine judgment. This is a logical conclusion, but not the only conclusion. Because we are designed for relationship with the Father, we know that obedience to him is the best way to pursue that relationship. To pursue anything else, we are headed in a direction that goes against our design. If we change the oil in our car in agreement with its design specs, we increase its life and efficiency. If not, we introduce destruction.

The passage also says we are citizens of heaven. We are citizens of the kingdom where Jesus is living now. Our home is not where we are living now. Our home is in heaven with our Father and Jesus the Lord.

● God's Perspective
God considers us citizens of his kingdom already. Even if we are not living in the land, we have the rights and privileges of citizens. We have protection under God's law of love and provision in grace. We have 24x7x365 access to the king, and he gives us 100% focused attention. We are the Father's children and heirs. We have authority to change the landscape of the world, if we understand his heart and learn to trust him to work.

● Living My Life
Of course, citizens of all kingdoms have responsibilities as citizens. But citizens of God's kingdom have more, because they are not just citizens. They are God's diplomatic corps. They are God's representatives.

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