Eternal Citizenship (Philippians 3:20–21) - Radical

Eternal Citizenship (Philippians 3:20–21)

“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.”
– Philippians 3:20–21

What a great reminder today that we may be citizens of a country here, but our real citizenship is in heaven. Our names are written in heaven. Obviously, this is referring to those who are in Christ, who have put their faith in Christ. 

Believers in Christ may be citizens of a country here, but their real citizenship is in heaven.

Philippians 3:20–21 Reminds Us That Heaven is Our Eternal Home

Our citizenship is in heaven. That’s where our home is. That’s where our home will be for all of eternity. So, we’re just passing through this land on the way to that land. That’s what we’re looking forward to. We’re migrants here in that sense. Even with citizenship in this or that country, we are temporarily here. Our eternal home is there. We are awaiting from there a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who’s coming back for us.

The Glory of the Second Coming

What a glorious reality. Jesus is coming back for us. He could do this today, the cry of Revelation is, “Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.” I was praying this, this morning, as I’m reading this passage, waiting for a savior, Jesus Christ to come back, to bring an end to sin, and suffering, and evil, and injustice and death in the world. He’s coming back to put an end to all of it, to wipe every tear from our eyes, to bring to culmination a day when there’s no more sin, no more sorrow, no more suffering, no more death. We’re waiting for that day. We’re waiting for our savior to come.

Our Glorified Bodies

On that day, verse 21 here says, “Jesus is going to transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body.” What a reality, that this body that the New Testament talks about, our outer self, is wasting away with aches, and pains and challenges in this body, that one day we’re going to be transformed, our body to be like his glorious body, by his power. It enables him to subject all things to himself. He has power to do that for all of us.

Philippians 3:20–21: Our Eternal Hope

What hope we have. No matter what we face in this world, no matter what challenges we walk through, no matter what trials and pain and suffering we endure, which is part of the theme here, in the book of Philippians (3:20–21) we know that our citizenship is in heaven and Jesus is coming back for us. One day we’re going to be with him. He’s going to transform us to be like him.

So, God, help us to live with this hope today. When I think about brothers and sisters who are likely listening to this right now, who are walking through major challenges and trials, I think about maybe some who are struggling with cancer or other physical struggles, sickness, disease. Who are walking through, others just very difficult, painful times in their life and family.

Prayer: Looking towards the Hope of Heaven

Lord, even if we’re not walking through it right now, we know that the reality is we could be tomorrow. So, we praise you for this hope. We trust that our citizenship is in heaven, that we are temporary residents here. We say to you today, we are looking forward to our home in the future. And we are awaiting the coming of Christ. Lord, we long for you to send Christ back, may your kingdom come, may your kingdom come in all of its fullness here on earth as it is in heaven. Bring about new heaven, new earth, we pray. Transform our bodies ultimately to be like the body of Christ, imperishable and unfading. Oh, God, we praise you for this hope and we pray that we would be strengthened in this hope today.

Prayer for the Salvation of the Lost

God, we pray that you would help us to spread this hope. We know that not everybody’s citizenship is in heaven. We know that there are people around us today, people we know, we work with, we love, whose citizenship is not in heaven, who don’t have this hope. And we know that there are people around the world that have never even heard about this hope. So, God, we pray that as long as you leave us here, we pray that you would help us to spread the good news of this hope here. Please, oh God, use our lives, bless our lives, lead our lives, so that others might become citizens of heaven. Even today, we pray for that, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.

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