April 10, 2017


Devotion for the Week...

When Paul and I came back from our trip to the States, we had to go through Canadian customs in the Toronto airport. Looking at the other people in the line, I noticed that together we represented a bunch of different ethnicities and backgrounds. Despite how different we all looked, though, there was no question about any of us being allowed into Canada because we were all carrying Canadian passports. That little government-issued document identified all of us as being welcome to enter this country because we belong here.

Paul checked his bag multiple times before we left to be sure we had the passports because without them we wouldn't get out of Canada or get back in. Those documents are the proof of our identity and we absolutely had to have them.

I am a Canadian citizen by birth, but that only accounts for my physical citizenship. According to Philippians 3:20, my spiritual citizenship is a different matter. Paul wrote, "But our citizenship is in heaven." He also wrote, "For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins" (Colossians 1:13,14).

Our physical citizenship is important, obviously, but it has nothing to do with allowing us into heaven. God will never look at whether we were Canadian or American or Australian or Indian or whatever. When it comes to gaining entry into eternal life with Him, only our spiritual citizenship will matter.

My Canadian citizenship was automatically given to me at birth. Our heavenly citizenship was also given to us automatically, at the moment of our spiritual birth into the family of God. As soon as we believed in Jesus as our Savior, we became citizens of heaven, welcome to enter God's 'country' because we belong there. Isn't that a beautiful thought?

We even have a passport to show our citizenship! "And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory" (Ephesians 1:13,14). Our heavenly passport is not a document, but the Holy Spirit living in us is proof that we belong to God's kingdom.
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It doesn't matter what we look like, where we came from or how different our backgrounds may be, if we have the Holy Spirit then we will be welcome into heaven. In fact, the Bible tells us specifically that all of the nations of the world will be represented in heaven: "After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb" (Revelation 7:9,10).

We'll have come from everywhere, but on that day we'll all be carrying the same passport and praising the same Lord.

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