Our heavenly citizenship is both a present reality and future hope. Philippians 3:20-21 says:
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to Himself.
Whatever clouds cover us here in the flesh, the big picture is bright indeed. Today’s Morning and Evening highlights a few of the benefits we currently enjoy as we anticipate that glorious day. Here is Alistair Begg’s modern phrasing of the Spurgeon classic.
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You are fellow citizens with the saints
and members of the household of God. — Ephesians 2:19
What is meant by our being citizens in heaven? It means that we are under heaven’s government. Christ, the King of Heaven, reigns in our hearts; our daily prayer is, “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”1 The proclamations issued from the throne of glory are freely received by us: The decrees of the Great King we cheerfully obey.
Then as citizens of the New Jerusalem, we share heaven’s honors. The glory that belongs to beatified saints belongs to us, for we are already sons of God, already princes of the blood imperial; already we wear the spotless robe of Jesus’ righteousness; already we have angels for our servants, saints for our companions, Christ for our Brother, God for our Father, and a crown of immortality for our reward. We share the honors of citizenship, for we have come to the general assembly and the Church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven.
As citizens, we have common rights to all the property of heaven. Ours are its gates of pearl and walls of chrysolite, ours the azure light of the city that needs no candle nor light of the sun, ours the river of the water of life and the twelve kinds of fruit that grow on the trees planted on its banks; there is nothing in heaven that does not belong to us. “The present or the future”2—all is ours.
Also as citizens of heaven we enjoy its delights. Do they rejoice in heaven over sinners that repent-prodigals who have returned? So do we. Do they chant the glories of triumphant grace? We do the same. Do they cast their crowns at Jesus’ feet? Such honors we have we cast there too. Are they charmed with His smile? It is just as sweet to us who live below. Do they look forward, waiting for His second advent? We also look and long for His appearing. If, then, we are citizens of heaven, let our walk and actions be consistent with our high dignity.
1 Matthew 6:10 2 1 Corinthians 3:22