Are We a Citizen of Heaven?
Today, is Independence Day here in the States (July 4, 2022) and as I wrote this blog, my mind was thinking about heavenly citizenship. In the Book of Philippians Chapter 3:20-21 we read these words: “But 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”.
For those cognizant with American history, you will be aware that ‘Independence Day’ marks the day the United States gained its freedom from British rule and officially became its own nation. The Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4th, 1776—and therefore, America was born. That is why you will observe the inscription in Roman numerals on the tablet held in Lady Liberty’s left hand, the date of the adoption of the ‘Declaration of Independence’. As an FYI, the Statue of Liberty is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor in New York City and is visited by approximately 3.5 million people every year.
I have vivid memories of going through the process of gaining citizenship 9+ years ago i.e., satisfying the initial eligibility requirements; completing the Application for Naturalization (N-400) Form which is a 20-page document; attaching all the required documents such as a copy of my green card, my marriage certificate as proof of your marital status; filing fee ($725 per applicant); and two recent passport-size photographs. Then there is a fingerprint check to accompany a criminal background check followed by a Naturalization Interview and an English and Civics Test (100 questions) and then a long wait for the government’s decision to determine if I satisfy all the required criteria.
If you receive a positive result of overall eligibility to proceed, a date (sometime in the future) is usually set to attend the swearing-in ceremony where you take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States, usually in a Court House. You can then call yourself a US citizen!
The reason I have detailed the steps of becoming a US Citizen is to demonstrate that it is something that is taken very seriously and it is conditional upon satisfying numerous requirements with objective evidence to validate each step of the process. To become a citizen of heaven, it is more than simply attending a place of worship, placing money in the offering plate, singing the latest worship songs or even being able to recite the odd verse out of the Bible. It starts with experiencing a life changing conversion where you have personally asked Jesus into your heart as Lord and Savior, repented of your sins and as the Book of 2 Corinthians Chapter 5 verse 17 tells us, we become new creations, the old is gone and the new is come. We often refer to this landmark experience as being saved, born-again, becoming a Christian. But this is only the beginning. Like new-born babies, they need to be loved and nurtured to grow into healthy responsible adults. Likewise, as babes in Christ, we too need to have fellowship with other Christians, spend time reading the Bible, spend time in prayer and growing in grace each day. As I mentioned above, satisfying the requirements of becoming a citizen of heaven requires objective evidence to substantiate a true conversion. This is evidenced by fruit as defined in the Book of Galatians Chapter 5:22-23. This is the reason New Life Fellowship exists to be both a lighthouse warning men and women of a heaven to gain and a hell to shun, and a signpost pointing to Calvary to share the good news of the gospel that God loves you so much that He sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross for your sins.
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