Citizens of Heaven
Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But 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 3:17-21 ESV)
I spent some time this morning with our great group of elders at Westminster Chapel and we grieved over, prayed about and sought God’s face concerning the times we face in America. If the church is going to continue to be a source of truth and grace- balancing the priorities of the cross, we face great challenges. There is abundant hope in Jesus to rescue and redeem circumstances, souls and even government systems but from our small perspective it is easy to slip into a fear driven response to all that surrounds us.
Paul’s words to the church at Philippi are no less relevant to us today and I believe they tap into a deeper issue for Christians in American than just the symptomatic social change that is occurring today. Everywhere I’ve lived and done ministry there has always been a deep appreciation for our country and the freedoms it provides. We live in the most prosperous and advanced time of human history in the country that affords us the greatest opportunities ever made available. The danger comes when we mistake our place and ultimate home as this nation. We are visitors on this planet with a deeper purpose to bring God glory as He rescues those who are far from Him.
We are visitors on this planet with a deeper purpose to bring God glory as He rescues those who are far from Him.
I believe we will be far less surprised or fearful about the challenges we will continue to face if we understand that our anchor is not found in the freedoms provided by our country or this world but by those provided from the next and the One who reigns forever. We must love our cities, our country and the people in it but if we expect them to fall in line with the standards of the Bible we are going to be increasingly disappointed. For too long it has been the assumption that the population at large lives according to biblical morality in America and we are only now realizing how far we are from it.
As Paul affirms, our future is set, our destiny is secure but as we interact with those who don’t know Jesus let’s remember that they need him, not our judgment. God is the one who convicts and converts the souls of people and a return to that thinking in our churches is so necessary.
No matter what the future holds for the church in America; tax ramifications, freedom of speech challenges, etc. we must remain faithful to God and His Word so that people can come to realize their own brokenness and the rescuer of Jesus as the only means of their salvation and hope. The nations of this world have come and gone but the reign of Jesus and the establishment of His church are secure, place your hope in Him alone.