Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.
A Citizenship to Treasure
Roman army vets had retired to the Greek colony of Philippi. The Roman government gave these vets in Philippi special privileges because of their army service. The Roman government could not tax them directly. Their city government was run by Roman law. As Roman citizens they could not be punished without a fair trial. The vets were so thankful they dressed like Romans, they spoke Latin, and they lived like Romans. They were citizens of Rome, even though they lived in Philippi.
Paul reminded the Christians in Philippi of their even greater citizenship. Because of Jesus’ service, Christians are citizens of heaven. Jesus won our citizenship by completing his 33-year tour of duty as our Savior. He followed every rule and obeyed every command God gave him. He also “threw himself” on the cross to redeem us as a people belonging to him.
By faith we have a citizenship with more privileges than Roman citizenship. We belong to a King who hears and answers our prayers, who works in all things for the good of those who love him, who will deliver us from this evil world and take us to himself in heaven.
It’s a citizenship to treasure. But Paul warned the believers that some lived only for this world. Their goals were to make more money, have more fun, enjoy more pleasure, go on longer vacations, become more important at work. They were turning their backs on the Savior who sacrificed his life to earn for them the rights of citizens of heaven. Their path was leading to eternal destruction.
What are we living for? Do we prize the pleasures and recognition of this world, chasing them at the cost of our life with God? Or are we proud and grateful for the citizenship Jesus has given us? Do we treasure his gifts of forgiveness, undeserved love, peace, joy?
Jesus, forgive my sins. Forgive my living for this life instead of living for heaven. Thank you for making me a citizen of heaven despite my sin. Thank you for daily forgiving me all I have done wrong. Keep my eyes and my heart focused on the home you won for me. Amen.
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