-Citizens? Ambassadors? Of What Country?

When Paul wrote that “our citizenship is in heaven” (Phil. 3:20), what did he mean? And is that citizenship active or passive? Is it doing, speaking, and working, or is it merely listening, reading, and watching? If we look closely at the concept of citizenship as defined by the ancient Greeks, we find that it was hard, active work and not merely the spectator activity that it has become today. In fact, by Greek standards, today’s typical, passive citizen would be considered an enemy of his country. His crime would be lack of active involvement. And he’d be punished.

Our heavenly citizenship is not passive either, as we might think. Instead, it is an active call to relationship, representation, and service. It not only presumes a knowledge and love of “the Way and the Truth and the Life” which is Jesus (Jn. 14:6 NIV), but also promotes the desire to communicate that knowledge and love to others and interest them in it.

Citizenship is not simply identification with a country; that’s passive. Citizenship’s true purpose is to actively display the country from which we come. The citizen’s goal is to represent his homeland so well that others will not only want to visit there, but also want to become citizens themselves. That’s why Paul also called us “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Cor. 5:20). All citizens then, whether good or bad, are really ambassadors of the country they represent, the place they call “home.”

Let’s ask ourselves this question about our citizenship: Are we promoting worldly things that represent the foreign land where we happen to find ourselves, or are we promoting the wonderful things of our heavenly homeland? If we asked those around us, what would they say about us as citizens and ambassadors of the place we call home?

By Larry Ondrejack


With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website:


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