A Citizen of Heaven
The Lord has taken us and transferred us from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of His Son. Our hearts have been transferred, but we still have some residue of some old ways that we are going to have to work through.
What are we supposed to look like when we have been transferred and born again in this new kingdom as a citizen of heaven? Who are we? How are we to act, think and talk? The Bible is a book of our identity. The more we become this person, the more we become the person we’ve always wanted to be.
We are aliens and new citizens. There are certain characteristics we are to have as citizens of heaven.
Aliens Think Differently
We are to think differently. Sometimes, in order to be accepted by our friends, we feel we need to think like them. But aliens are to think differently. Aliens don’t think religiously or condemningly or condescendingly or legalistically. Sometimes others won’t understand, but in the long run, they will see that God is true.
“So think clearly and exercise self-control … Don’t slip back into your old ways of doing evil; you didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God—who chose you to be His children—is holy” (1 Pet. 1:13-15).
When we lived in that old realm, we didn’t know any better. But God changed our minds and our hearts, and all old things died away. We became born again. We changed citizenships because there are no dual citizenships. We are now citizens of heaven. Now, God is saying to be careful that we don’t slip back into our old ways.
Repentance is one of the most powerful gifts God gave us to keep us free from the old tendencies and the vortex of the world that’s trying to pull us in. It keeps us free until we become fully, completely His, not only in heart, but in behavior and action.
“Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God — what is good and is pleasing to Him and is perfect” (Rom. 12:2).
There is that vortex of the world that pulls us, but we are to think differently, even though it seems like we are the only one. In the end, we will find that God’s way will be the truth, so don’t stop thinking like a citizen of heaven.
We Have a Different Motivation
We are not motivated to serve God because of fear of punishment. Fear of punishment changes your present action, but it doesn’t transform your heart. Click To Tweet We have a different motivation.
The Bible talks about a fear of God, but it’s called a reverent fear or a reverence of God. It’s not because of punishment, but because we are starting to understand His great love.
“So you must live in reverent fear of Him during your time as foreigners here on earth. For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom He paid was not mere gold or silver. He paid for you with the precious lifeblood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God” (1 Pet. 1:17-19).
When we were born, we were slaves to this way of life and this way of thinking. We were trapped. Because we are born into sin and that is our natural inheritance from our ancestors, a ransom price had to be paid. God didn’t pay for it with pennies or dollars or stock options. He gave all that heaven had — the very life of Christ, His Son, and He laid it down for you and me.
It was for love that He created the world. His love for us is what caused everything to exist. In order to ransom us, He bankrupted heaven and He brought us home. He would rather have us than anything else, even His own blood that He shed.
We Have to Choose to Change
Don’t just pretend to be good. If we are just pretending, that tendency will start to harden and become a trait. When you see that happening in your life, stop and repent.
What will help us grow? The infallible Word of God is the inspired scripture. We train in righteousness so that the man/woman of God may be adequate and equipped for every good work.
That’s the citizenship of heaven. It takes a season to make that transition: to train in God’s Word, to choose to grow, to repent when we slip, and to build a new pattern of righteousness to represent Him well.