December 28, 2021
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 28 December 2021
Philippians 3:20 reveals that the believer’s “citizenship is in heaven.” Earthly citizenship has a characteristic spirit of its own. Life in this world has the common bond of citizenship inherent to it; in other words, many people find a common bond in living based upon life in the temporal. God’s Word reveals that there is another commonwealth. Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36), and thus the Lord’s statement should encourage those who trust in the Lord to live with a different character of life. Believers are to “keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right of God” (Col 3:1).
When the Epistle of the Philippians was written, the security and stability of the pax Romana (Latin term meaning “Roman peace”) often aroused intense feelings and thoughts with regard to citizenship and its value. To have the right to possess all the privileges of Roman citizenship would have been greatly esteemed by the believers residing in the city of Philippi. The believer’s citizenship is in heaven, and therefore, Christians may “lay hold” of God in Christ Jesus (Phil 3:12, 14), just as the Philippians could legally expect protection from Rome.
Christians are to "eagerly wait" for the Savior’s return from heaven, which means anticipation and eagerness for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ as the habitual perspective of the one whose citizenship is in heaven. The normal attitude of the believer is eager anticipation of the Lord’s return. The longing for the coming of the Savior is also an incentive for holy living (cf. Tit 2:13; 1 John 2:28).
When the Lord Jesus returns, the body of the believer’s “humble state” will be transformed “into conformity with the body of His glory” (Phil 3:21). The transformation of the believer’s body will be into a glorified one just like the Son of God (1 John 3:2). The distinction is between the “the body of our humble state” and “the body of His glory.” In this earthly life, the believer’s body is humbled by death, disease, persecution, and sin. The body is earthly, perishable, weak, natural, and mortal (1 Cor 15:35-58), so that believers “groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of the body” (Rom 8:23).
When the Lord returns, the transformation (glorification) of the body will occur either by resurrection of the dead or by the instant translation of the living (cf. 1 Cor 15:50-58; 1 Thess 4:13-18; 5:9-10). The glorified and resurrected body will be just like the Son of God (“the body of His glory,” Phil 3:21), and the believer’s sanctification will be ultimate. The expectation of the Lord’s return should produce a purifying hope for those who are (even now) citizens of heaven even while sojourning on earth (1 John 3:1-3). The transformation will occur “by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself” (Phil 3:21). The same power that will ultimately subject all things in the universe to the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ is what accomplishes the transformation.
As those who understand this glorious hope, surely we can “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (3:14). The heavenly citizenship of Christians should stimulate us to live holy and pure lives “so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming” (1 John 2:28).
Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
Capitol Commission Georgia
The primary emphasis of Capitol Commission is threefold: prayer, presence, and proclamation. As a ministry of prayer, we encourage all believers – regardless of political ideology or denominational commitment – to pray for their elected officials. One primary resource in this regard is using our prayer website – www.pray1Tim2.org – where you can pray each day for your elected officials. As a ministry of presence, we engage leaders and staff to share the gospel, meet needs, and make disciples. The responsibility of our leaders can be overwhelming, and it is an honor to come alongside them to encourage them and to express gratitude from them. As a ministry of proclamation, gospel clarity and witness are crucial, and this is primarily accomplished through ongoing Bible studies for both legislators and staff. The Lord has called Capitol Commission to a ministry of prayer, presence, and proclamation to a place where few can go, behind the scenes with state and national legislators and staff.