For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. Philippians 3:20-21
One of the central truths about the new life in Christ is that we became citizens of heaven, an honour bestowed on us at the new birth. Our permanent address changed the moment we bowed to the Lordship Of Jesus, God’s Anointed One. Here on earth we only have temporary resident status, and it expires when our mission as ambassadors of Christ comes to an end. This world is not our home.
Anyone who has been away from home for a while looks forward to going home, and it is no different for us sojourners as we travel through this dark and dilapidated world. Which is why Paul said that we eagerly wait for the Saviour to transform our lowly, earthly bodies. These bodies of dust are not designed to be exposed to the glory of His manifest presence.
As someone who travelled far and wide in this world, I can tell you that you reach a point where sightseeing and the fun that different cultures offer, lose their attraction. Believe me, one of the most beautiful sights in a foreign country is your own country’s airplane waiting to take you home. Going home is the high point of any visit abroad.
If you confessed your faith in the One who exchanged His righteousness for your sin, you are Homeward bound. Jesus said so Himself:
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.” John 14:1-4
We know where Jesus is, and we know the way!
Not everybody always looks forward to move, even though they might have good reason to. Some are quite happy to put up with the discomforts of their present dwelling, often because they do not know what is available to them. Yet the Bible gives more than enough detailed information of what our future holds, but let’s just say that no true believer will be worse off than they are now. If you still have goals to accomplish in your life, there is fulfillment beyond comparison waiting on you.
Beware though of how easy it is to become entangled in the affairs of this world, causing you to lose sight of where you are heading. Thank God for the excellent examples that we have of those who went before us. The men and women of the Bible’s hall of faith in Hebrews chapter 11 show us the way:
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. Hebrews 11:13-16
…having seen (the promises) afar off …they confessed that hey were strangers and pilgrims on the earth; …for those who say such things declare plainly that they that they seek a homeland. You stay the course when the vision of home is stronger than the temptations and distractions along the way, as Peter also cautions us:
Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. 1 Peter 2:11,12
I remember how my grandfather, a man of impeccable character and unwavering faith, kept his eye on the prize. In his old age he sat in his rocking chair, and expressed his longing for Home by singing a song in his native tongue: ”I am so glad the day is almost here; I am so glad that Jesus is coming; God Himself will take care of that Day; I am so glad that Jesus is coming.” Going Home has been the talk of the church since the earliest days.
Some gave up because it is taking so long. The waiting drained their faith and destroyed their hope, and they turned around, trying to make the best of this world. One even said he would try to be the best mediocre Christian that he can be. Time slows down when you wait, but when you are busy, as faithful ambassadors ought to be, you don’t watch the clock all day long. Bear in mind also that there is a good reason why God delays:
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9
The final hour for salvation is approaching fast, and spreading the gospel is now of the utmost importance. The window will soon close, just as the door to the ark closed after warning upon warning. We have much to do; the sooner we finish our work, the sooner Jesus will come. But until then we motivate ourselves by keeping the vision of Home alive in our hearts and minds.
Paul encourages us along these lines in his letter to the Thessalonian church:
For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18
Comfort one another with these words. Whether you go via the grave or directly with a cloud, you will arrive safely home to be with the Lord always.