“But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will transform the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, by the power that also enables him to make all things subject to himself. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.”
— PHILIPPIANS 3:20 – 4:1 (NRSV)
Having contrasted what it is for the worldly person to live on Earth, perhaps worst, the backslider, we come into this final section to receive a salvo—a 40-gun salute—of encouragement, for pressing on toward the goal of our salvation in the joy befitting privileged citizens who are never more loved.
And we need all the encouragement we can get when we observe all the so-called fun the worldly person experiences in this life. Those who warrant their own destruction, whose god is their belly (the aberrant sensual desires), who glory in the matters of shame so far as eternity is concerned, have their minds set on what seems so appealing to the vast majority.
But what is so appealing is also so destructive.
When we miss out on this earthly enjoyment, we can wonder the wisdom in missing out. But missing out isn’t the point. Or maybe it is? If we miss out on anything in terms of the worldly life we sidestep those things bringing us to a swift death. And if we focus on that citizenship that we have in that home far away, we long for our Saviour, even to the point of dedicating our lives to being sanctified and renewed today.
What is it that our Saviour, Jesus, will do for us?
Living in Expectation of the Saviour
A worldly focus negates the impact of the Coming King. A worldly focus is, therefore, an absurdity, because it chooses to believe a lie. It chooses to believe that Jesus is distant and his coming will tarry eternally. The fact is, a foretaste we know!
The key to our hope is the Blessed Hope—the coming of Christ on the clouds of heaven. But our hope is realised today in the presence of the Holy Spirit dwelling inside our mortal beings.
When Jesus comes, our humiliation—as a composite of worldly injustices and frustrations—is transformed immediately into glory; a body of humiliation into a body of glory, instantaneously.
We are heavenly citizens, on leave with pay, exploring a life here on Earth as ambassadors of the King. We understand the concept of service and we live for it. We understand what comes with the privilege of citizenship; we consider the joy before us each day and that helps us live this life with joy today.
We Christians do not miss out in this life; on the contrary, we live our lives in the compelling light of eternity. We enjoy knowing that, because we are forgiven, we have freedom from guilt and shame. We are reconciled to God and this world is a cheap and flimsy imitation of the blessings that will soon be ours.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.