Ephesians 2:19, NIV
“You are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow-citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household.”
I wonder if you’ve been on an international flight recently, and had the experience of being offered the option of going through the special passport control line reserved for citizens of your own country or continent? Often the citizens’ queue seems longer than the general one. The benefits appear to be for the sake of passport control, rather than the passengers. Yet citizenship is supposed to bring positive things for its citizens.
Those of us who are citizens of a country can expect protection and support from our government, according to one dictionary definition. So, we get very upset when our hopes are dashed, and our expectations are crushed. God, however, warns us in Hebrews 12:26 that He will ‘shake not only the earth but the heavens’, and perhaps the current worldwide political and economic climate is an indication that the shaking has begun.
What do we mean when we call ourselves citizens of the Kingdom of God? Firstly, we’re saying that we’re outside the constraints of worldly political order. We’re to be in the world, but not of it. When God shakes this world, He will exclude his own domain, although our humanity may still lead us into a degree of suffering. This isn’t promoting anarchy, but it’s encouraging us to pray for God’s mercy on our governments.
Secondly, we’re not hopeless, but hopeful. Our foundation stone is Jesus Christ, not a political system. Indeed, the old order will be swept away at the coming of Christ, and we’ll have the privilege of being fellow citizens with the countless millions around the throne of God. We’ll benefit from the fullness of God’s promises. What a destiny!
Thirdly, there’s no differentiation between the citizens of God’s Kingdom. There won’t be rich and poor, slave and free, Jew and Gentile in God’s household. We’re all fellow-citizens in Christ. Perhaps we need to start getting used to this, for example, by sharing the bounty that God gives us with those less fortunate, by seeing Jesus in those who come from a different culture or background to ours, and by not putting our hope in political systems and their ambassadors, but rather trusting in the Lord to accomplish His purposes through each of us, as His Spirit works in us.
We won’t see a separate passport queue here on earth for the citizens of heaven, but, one day, we’ll enter into the presence of the Father through that special gateway reserved for those who are sons and daughters of the King, co-heirs with Jesus. Something to look forward to!
Prayer: We thank You, Lord, for those who’ve been appointed to lead our countries and communities, and we pray for Your blessing and guidance in their lives. Thank You that You have made us citizens together in Your greater Kingdom, which won’t be shaken by the events of earth, but will endure for ever. We look forward in hope to that day when we shall be with You in heaven, beyond the shaking of this world. Amen.