“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,” Philippians 3:20
When Paul wrote these words I seriously doubt he had all our modern day dilemmas in mind—in truth his troubles were much worse. In our contemporary culture, day-by-day biblical principles are unceremoniously being replaced with humanistic doctrines pointing towards the exaltation of man’s “elevated” thinking. To many the Bible, especially the Old Testament, has become nothing more than quaint fairy tales with symbolic allegories to be used or discredited depending on their context to modern society.
From a Christian perspective, this “devolution” of values is worrisome as it strikes at the core of true faith. When Paul writes that the way of generating faith comes by simply hearing the Word of God,¹ we soon discover that the Holy Scriptures become the focal point of satanic energy. By minimizing, discrediting and ignoring the Bible, the truths of God’s message to man is hidden. Paul notes that thought succinctly when he writes in 2 Corinthians 4, verse 4:
“…the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
And so we discover that our society is not the first to experience this blinding of minds away from biblical principles. Paul, while living in the difficult pagan society of a Roman government dealt with far more harsh circumstances than presented to us. From his historical context we discover these prevailing words, “But our citizenship is in heaven.” The phrase is very necessary for refreshment and support. Confidence that we’ve obtained a home in a different commonwealth is the elevating “X-factor” when discovering our present physical world’s belief system no longer syncs with what the Bible teaches.
In fact, the alternative meaning of the Greek’s word for citizenship² is community. The idea is more than that of a group of people living geographically in a connected way. The word implies behavior and lifestyles—a status of believers! It’s simultaneously the belief system the community chooses to live by. While the earthly, geographic world in which we live changes to something foreign of scriptures, God’s citizenry is in heaven and it chooses to live by different principles—the principles of the Bible! To this heavenly citizenry, the Holy Scriptures are not fairy tales and allegorical truths to pick and choose from. The Bible means what it says and cannot be excused away by silly talking points trivialized by those with conflicting agendas.
Allow me to sum up and lend practicality to everything I’ve written thus far: while the present direction of western civilization is somewhat disconcerting to those who believe what the Bible teaches, I’ve found an interesting ray of hope. Whereas movements and agendas seek in concerted effort to redefine laws away from the truths fundamentally presented in the Bible, it’s of note that one of the most popular series on cable TV is this season’s show on the History Channel titled, “The Bible.” It convinces me there is still more to our society than what the media, Hollywood or politicians—liberal or conservative—with an agenda in Washington DC proclaim there to be.
The need is for those who believe the Bible as truth not to be cowered by cleverly worded talking points, but hold and lovingly speak what they believe—teaching others the truth of the Bible. If faith comes by hearing the Word of God, than by all means speak the Word of God so other’s can hear it. It’s impossible to believe something if you can’t hear it—so let’s give peace a chance by speaking up for what we believe in. The Christian’s citizenship is in heaven. And holding fast to that truth and telling others about it are the same things Paul emphasized in his era. I have a citizenship in heaven and letting others know what it’s like to live in that realm is what will change today’s modern society!
J. Robert Hanson
¹ Romans 10:17 “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”