For the believer, citizenship is in heaven. Isn’t it nice to know?
I’m faced with a new scenario in my life. Questions of my lifestyle come up constantly within myself as Christ overtakes and overcomes more and more of me. Philippians 3:17-21 is where I’m at today. I notice here that an example has been set for me to follow, to mimic. The definition of an enemy of cross is given. I wonder if I’ve become an enemy sometimes. My witness of how the cross has impacted my life is seen in how I live and what I value. Verse 19:
Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things.
That’s the enemy of the cross. People whose minds are set on earthly things. Whatever we believe this life to be about, those things that can only come from earth, the pursuit of fleeting happiness from the fulfillment of stuff and everything else that perishes or can be destroyed by fire or water, that person is the enemy of the cross. I fail too. I don’t look to the cross for deliverance like I should. Christ isn’t the first one I turn to when I’m in trouble. Counsel is sought from peers and friends over the Word of God. Money is what fixes things, not His provision. I want something better, but the better tends to be what is seen and felt rather than what comes with faith. Is my mind so shallow to not believe there is something deeper going on than the surface issues that rise up every day? Why is this so difficult? I’ve been redeemed! I want to know Christ!
But for the Christian, citizenship is in heaven, not this earth. We look to what Christ will do in transforming who we are now into something glorious and eternal. I like what Anthony Ash said in his commentary, “The enemies focused on the body only as it related to this life. Christ called men to consider it as it related to the next. The Christian’s destiny is not decay, but transformation.”
Suddenly, anything that burns is futile. If death is certain, then those things which last must take priority of the things that don’t. What kind of kingdom are we living for? Where is our citizenship? Are we spreading American culture as it applies to what we see, or spreading the Christ culture as it applies to each’s destiny? Transform me now, Lord, to live as a citizen of heaven on this earth until it’s all over and I’m transformed for an eternity in Your presence!
I read something that caught my attention here in this passage. When Paul refers to citizenship, he’s appealing to a similar type of Philippian citizenship to Rome. Rome had made Philippi a Roman city. So the rights of Roman citizenship were given to the Philippians. Anywhere they went they could assert their Roman citizenship and spread Roman culture. Paul uses this word, and it’s the only time it was ever referenced like this in the Bible, in reference to their citizenship in heaven. So they share all the access and rights as being a citizen of heaven anywhere they went, and were to spread the heavenly culture everywhere the went. It’s a really neat thought that applies to us as well. We share in the access to God as a citizen of heaven, spreading the culture of Christ everywhere we go.