Dual Citizens

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NOTE: This is Day Four of the devotional guide (Volume 1, Issue 2) of our church, Filinvest Community Christian Fellowship, for the message last Sunday, March 8, on Know How Much You Are Worth Part 1” (“Significance” series, a verse-by-verse study of the book of Ephesians). Erratum: I have posted Day Five before Day Four. My apologies for the confusion.

Here in the Philippines, we have what we call “dual citizenship.” (Once we reach 60 years old, we get a senior citizen’s ID. We become what people jokingly refer to as “dual citizens.” But that is not the dual citizenship we are talking about here.) Dual citizens are those “natural-born Filipinos who have lost their Filipino citizenship through naturalization in a foreign country, [who are given] the opportunity to retain or re-acquire their Filipino citizenship.” (From the Commission on Filipinos Overseas website)

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But there is another dual citizenship that the Bible talks about. The apostle Paul wrote, “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20. Emphasis added) Believers are both citizens in their respective countries and our fellow citizens in heaven. 

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According to Ephesians 2:19, “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (emphasis added). 
As citizens of God’s heavenly dominion, Christians hold all the rights and privileges that citizenship grants, even while they are living in the “foreign” and sometimes hostile land of earth. Our true life is in the supernatural, in the heavenly places. [1]
Also, note where Paul said our spiritual blessings are located: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3. Emphasis added.) Its location is interesting “because Ephesus was considered the bank of Asia… the great temple of Diana, was in Ephesus, and was not only a center for idolatrous worship, but also a depository for wealth.” [2] Ancient people put their wealth in temples so that thieves would not rob it for fear of the gods. 

An artist's conception of the Temple of Artemis. Image credit

In contrast, our spiritual treasures are eternally secure because it’s with the Lord in His heavenly domain. No one can take it away from us! These blessings are not temporal but we possess them not only here but also in eternity. Thus, we are commanded, “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3:1) For example, if we are employers, we should treat our employees right because, “They have the same Master in heaven that you do, and he doesn’t have any favorites.” (Ephesians 6:9c, CEV) We are to conduct our lives here on earth with heaven in our minds. 

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Significant Step

We are not mere citizens of heaven. According to 2 Corinthians 5:20, “we are ambassadors for Christ”. As His ambassadors, how can we represent the Lord to the world through our works and words? To you, what does it mean “to live on earth with heaven in mind”?

[1] John F. MacArthur, Jr., The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Ephesians (IL: Moody Bible Institute, 1986. Reprinted in the Philippines by CGM, 1989), 9, Emphasis added.

[2] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Expository Commentary (IL: Victor Books, 1999). Electronic Edition. 

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