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People need hope more than ever. As followers of Jesus, we have this promise in Colossians 1:27.....Listen to Radio Podcast featured on Moody Radio April 17 2024 

Wednesday-Citizenship

 

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.

 

Philippians 3:20,21

 

I was born and lived just outside Baltimore, Maryland. This made me a citizen of the United States and gave me lots of privileges. I can travel anywhere within the country without needing paperwork or asking permission. But there are lots of other benefits that I don’t think about very often. I’m protected by the military from foreign governments or terrorists. There are laws and regulations to protect me from dangerous people, harmful chemicals, and to make my food safe.

 

I know that there are many things wrong with America. We’re reminded of them every day. I want America to do better. Be better. But there are many, many benefits that we enjoy from being citizens of the United States of America. Being a citizen if more than just enjoying all the benefits. All the goodies. Being a citizen also has responsibilities and commitments. There are things that all good citizens must do in order to support and follow their place of citizenship.

 

Paul is telling the Philippian church that their citizenship isn’t the temporary nation of Rome, but in heaven where Jesus reigns. Yes, Rome was pretty much in control of all parts of their lives here on earth. They forced their will on just about anyone who got in their way.

 

But Rome was going to move on one day. Rome was going to reach it’s peak and then start going downhill. Eventually it was going to weaken and be replaced It wasn’t eternal. And it certainly wasn’t perfect either.

 

The Philippian Christians had a better citizenship. A higher and permanent one. And while they were to honor their government and leaders here on earth, they were to look forward to something else. They should have a deep and intense desire for Jesus’ return to remove his people from earth and take them to heaven.

 

Paul’s telling them that while this life might be ok, it’s nothing in comparison to personally being with King Jesus in heaven. Where there’s no more sickness. No more death. No more crying. No more sadness[1]. They have something great to look forward to. We have something great to look forward to. That means that we have to keep our focus upward. We need to keep looking up at the heavens, looking for the blessed hope and appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ[2].

 

It may be difficult to understand this kind of live, but John Boston understood this in a way we’ll never quite get. He escaped slavery in Maryland, leaving behind his wife, Elizabeth. John found refuge with a New York regiment. His letter is all we know about him, but his powerful words still speak to us today.

 

I trust the time will come when we shall meet again. And if we don't meet on earth we will meet in heaven where Jesus reigns[3].

 

John Boston probably never received an education. He certainly didn’t have all the privileges and resources that we have. His difficult escape “from the slaver’s lash” was probably made with nothing more than the cloths on his back. He had no technology, cell phone, or internet.

 

But John Boston had something that few of us will ever understand. Even in the most difficult circumstances imaginable, he had an unmovable faith. His faith didn’t depend on everything turning out the way he wanted. Things turning out well; where everyone gets what they want. Everyone’s healed. Everyone’s happy. Everyone has lots of money and things.

 

We know nothing else about John Boston and his wife Elizabeth. We don’t know anything about their past. Where they were born. How they met. Whether they were ever reunited on earth is unknown.

 

We don’t know the details about John and Elizabeth’s life. You know, those tantalizing little bits of info that we long for. Even though this is all we know about his life, we know plenty about his faith.

 

John Boston was sure that Jesus was on the throne. God was in charge and is always faithful. God knows what was going on throughout his heavenly kingdom as well as his kingdom on earth. And that didn’t change whether he was a slave. A free man. With his wife or apart.

 

No matter what life looks like, or what people may say, God always, always, always keeps his promises. There’s nothing that anyone can do to overpower or outthink God. No one’s going to put him in a corner and force God to do something he never thought of. This was true for the Apostle Paul and the church in Philippi. It was true for John Boston and his wife Elizabeth. It’s true for you and me. God faithful to his people. His citizens of heaven. Is that where your citizenship is?

 

Noodling Questions

 

  • Why don’t we think about our citizenship very often?

  • With our citizenship being in heaven, how does that change the way we live?

  • How can we speak about and demonstrate our citizenship that’s in heaven?


[1] Revelation 21:4

[2] Titus 2:13

[3] Letter from John Boston, a runaway slave, to his wife, Elizabeth, January 12, 1862, National Archives

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