June 20, 2018

Citizens of Heaven

Philippians 3:17-21

Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who . . . will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

—  Philippians 3:20-21

C.S. Lewis observed that if you aim to be successful only on earth, you may never get to heaven even as the things of earth slip away. But if you aim for the things of heaven, not only will the Lord graciously bring you there; he will also make your life on earth something wonderful. So if you aim only for earth, you get nothing. But if you aim for heaven, you get everything—life to the full.

This is Paul’s point too as he rounds out Philippians 3. We all are citizens of one country or another here on earth. But believers in Christ have a far more important status as citizens of heaven. All of our other identities fall in line under our heavenly citizenship.

Paul pointed this out for the Philippians because then—and now—there are all kinds of ­influences that distract us from giving God’s kingdom first place in our lives. We receive messages like this every day: live for the moment, go for the gusto, do whatever feels right, look out for number one. All this, Paul claims, makes people enemies of the cross. It all amounts to self-centered living and reflects none of Christ’s selflessness. But if we live as Christ’s people, then one day we will be made like Jesus, ­arrayed in all the glory of God’s kingdom!

Lord, may the contours of your kingdom and the truth of our heavenly citizenship be revealed in our lives, transforming us even now on this earth into your distinct people. Amen.

About the author — Scott Hoezee

Scott Hoezee is an ordained minister in the Christian Reformed Church who served two congregations before joining the faculty at Calvin Theological Seminary in 2005 as the director of its Center for Excellence in Preaching. He is the author of numerous books, reviews, and articles, and he is a cohost of the radio program Groundwork, a sister-program of Today devotional. He is married to Rosemary Apol, and they have two adult children and a Boston terrier named Chester.

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