“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, NIV
Citizenship denotes the link between a person and a state. A relationship between me and the kingdom; one that is certain whether I am physically in that kingdom or not.
I can’t help but think on Christian’s pilgrimage to the Celestial City in Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. The narrow path is difficult, full of trials and fearful encounters, but along the way, Christian carries with him his parchment—the scroll with the seal upon it—that he’d received at the Cross. He was to study those words, to think upon them and talk of them. And at the end of the journey, he would hand that scroll over to the gate-keeper, and it would be delivered to the King. Why?
It proved his citizenship. During his pilgrimage, as he struggled along the difficult path, suffered humiliation, wrestled with temptation, grappled with grief, and trembled before Apollyon, Christian carried with him that scroll. Because it wasn’t mere parchment. It was his proof of Citizenship.
God gives us his proof—He gave a deposit. The Spirit of God, dwells with me. Seals me. Journeys with me. I don’t know what the road ahead will look like. Sometimes there are dark clouds ahead. Sometimes I get trapped in the dungeon of doubt. Sometimes the valley terrifies me. But along the way, I carry with me the same scroll. He declares now, and at the City Gate, “She belongs. I am her proof of citizenship.”
I love that. The Holy Spirit, my proof of citizenship.
Do you have a passport? Do you know where it is? If you are living in your home country, those questions may not seem terribly pressing to you. “No, why would I have a passport?” Or perhaps, “I think I have one, but it may be expired . . . hmm . . . Is it in my sock drawer maybe?”
But, if you were to ever travel abroad, you’d know exactly where your passport was every second you were on foreign soil. You’d know, so you could snatch it up in a fraction of a second if you were ever called upon to flee a political coup.
You’d know, so when the police stopped you on the side of the road, as they often do overseas, you could prove your citizenship.
You’d know, because it would be your ticket inside your embassy. The only ticket. Without it, you stay on the outside of those tall, barbed-wire topped walls.
And you’d know, because it’s the only thing that could get you back on to your country.
We are citizens of Heaven. The Holy Spirit is my proof of citizenship, far more precious to me than my tattered U.S. passport. He is my guide through emotional coups and hostile interrogations. He rejoices with me when I enter a Heavenly Embassy, otherwise known as a church.
And one day, this weary traveler, sealed with the Holy Spirit, will step into Heaven.
I’ll hear God the Father say, “Welcome home.”