2 Corinthians 5:20

Paul Calvert reflects on the unity we can live in, when we recognise that our primary citizenship is in heaven.

Paul Calvert
Paul Calvert

Living in Israel I use my passport all the time. It's the law to carry ID everywhere you go. There are checkpoints all around the country; some are continuous checkpoints and some are set up for only a few hours. At any moment you may be asked to show your ID.

I hold a British passport. That is my identity. I was born in England, in Carlisle to be exact, so I am an English citizen. When I fly into the UK they have to let me back into my country. My passport proves that I am a British citizen.

As a citizen of England I have a right to vote when I reach voting age and as a responsible citizen of England I should look after my country, pay my taxes and be a good neighbour to those around me.

Another way of showing that I am an English citizen is when it's World Cup fever. My flag goes up onto the roof of my house and I am declaring to all those around that my team is England.

But as Christians we are not only citizens of the countries we were born in, we are also citizens of heaven. That means I have certain rights as a citizen of heaven. I can call upon my Father at any time and share with Him my fears, joys, my upset and my happiness. He is always there for me.

As a citizen I also have a home. My home is in heaven. The deposit of the Holy Spirit in my life is my passport proving that I am a citizen of heaven. God has given us a new nature and we are His children now. We live in the light of God as citizens of heaven.

And my big brother Jesus has gone up to heaven to prepare a place for me. He is actually in heaven now thinking about me and preparing my place for when it is my time to be there with Him.

So if we are citizens of heaven, then that should be our first priority. I'm a citizen of heaven before I am a citizen of England, so I can go anywhere around the world and meet other citizens of heaven and love them because we are like-minded.

It also helps in areas of conflict, like in Israel and Palestine. There are Jewish believers and there are Palestinian believers, but first and foremost our identity is in Jesus and we are citizens of heaven; so as brothers we can lay aside any other conflict, because we are citizens together of heaven.

We will live side by side together in heaven without conflict or war. As a citizen of heaven I can love others because we are both citizens of heaven. My brother in Christ may have voted for Brexit and I didn't, we may have fundamental differences when it comes to politics, but as brothers in Christ, the thing that unites us is Christ.

And we should want to share that love with others, because He has brought us together in unity. 'We are therefore Christ's ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.' (2 Corinthians 5:20)

Today are you a citizen of heaven enjoying the privileges that that brings? As Christ's ambassador tell someone else about His love and mercy so that they can be a citizen of heaven too. CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.