You are a citizen of Heaven – did you know that? Paul wrote that in Philippians 3. His listeners would immediately know that’s like being a citizen of Rome.
Philippi was a colony. Roman citizens there were agents and emissaries of Roman culture, law, language, customs, and power. Roman citizens living in Philippi weren’t interested in leaving Philippi and going to Rome if things got dicey. They would call on the emperor to send in backup.
John’s gospel, which is our focus this season, explains that Jesus has already started his kingdom on Earth. You are a citizen of that kingdom.
That makes you an agent and emissary of the Kingdom of Heaven’s culture, law, language, customs, power, and all of it. Citizens living on planet Earth aren’t interested in leaving Earth just so they can go to Heaven. God will bring Heaven down to Earth in the end times. That’s a process that’s already started. Jesus inaugurated it. He rose again as the first member of that blended new creation of Heaven and Earth. We will follow him.
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
We can think we’re just putting in our time, being “good” so we can get to heaven. That’s a beautiful idea that we get from Greek pagans. Not a Christian idea. Nope.
We are the agents of King Jesus and work so that his Father’s will is done here, as it is in heaven. Then God will come to be with His people. Now we see that imperfectly. Later, it will come about in fullness.
We can forget we are agents of Heaven and try to do “good” without reference to the kingdom. For instance, we might perform acts of charity without bringing the gospel. Works of mercy are valuable however activism without the rest of the gospel is merely a stop-gap solution.
Also, for instance, we can passively be “good” in the hopes that, somehow, we will perform the other roles of our heavenly citizenship, like bringing the Kingdom of Heaven’s culture, law, language (of love), customs, (restorative) power, and all of its many facets.
A temple is a particular place where heaven and earth are joined. We see the temple in creation, the tent of meeting, the tabernacle, the temple of Jerusalem, in Jesus, in his people, and in our bodies where the Spirit rests.
More in the podcast, I only got some of this in here (Curtis). Thanks for dropping in! Send us an email with your thoughts, questions, or impressions!
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