20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 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)
Do you know anybody who has citizenship in another country? They may enjoy this country, but they know it is not their home. Sometimes, they get permission to stay for long periods of time. Some may stay their entire lives. However, they never get the full benefits of living in America, just as we don’t get the full benefits of living in their country.
Sometimes, your name can be added to the citizenship roles of a different country. You could become a naturalized citizen: learning about your obligations and privileges so you can fully benefit from citizenship. You could marry somebody from another country and gain citizenship that way. Gaining citizenship is a life changing event.
All believers in Christ have gained citizenship in Heaven. Not only that, but we have also gained citizenship in the New Earth. Just as we have been renewed at our conversion from citizens of this current age to citizens of the New Earth, which we eagerly await as our new home, so this world will be renewed from its present fallen state into a perfect state when God judges all. This is amazing to think about – Christians have been changed into something different, in anticipation of this world changing into something different. No wonder we do not feel at home here – our new nature would feel perfectly at home in the world God is creating in the future, but does not feel at home here. Not only that, but as some places in the world may reject you for being from a certain country that they dislike, so the citizens of this world are not comfortable with Christians. They end up rejecting these aliens, who are no longer from this world and willing to follow the requirements for citizenship. Instead, we are learning what the requirements of our next citizenship are, and will someday feel more at home in the New Earth than we have been here. Meanwhile, those who are never converted will have their home here, and will lose it upon death. Believers lose their citizenship on the Earth, but gain it in Heaven and the New Earth for eternity. It is a trade I would never give up.