The devil’s greatest weapons are lies and ignorance. With these, he not only manages to keep the masses fooled, but also inhibits the joy that rightfully belongs to us as Children of the Most High God. As Heaven’s citizens we all have privileges and duties.The devil's greatest weapons are lies and ignorance. With these, he not only manages to keep the masses fooled, but also inhibits the joy that rightfully belongs to us as Children of the Most High God. Click To Tweet
In Acts 22, when Paul was about to be interrogated by flogging , he asks an interesting question. “Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman, and uncondemned?” The fact that he was a Roman citizen, exempted him from being treated as a criminal without due process of the law. What’s even more interesting is the centurions response upon confirming how he became a Roman citizen, “and the commander was also afraid after he found out that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him.” (Acts 22:24-29)
We should let this sink in for a moment. The apostle Paul was about to be mercilessly scourged by brutal Roman soldiers. He was falsely accused by his brethren who wanted nothing but his head. Alone and weary, surrounded by enemies, tied up to a whipping post, he casually asks the centurion “Can you do this to a Roman citizen?” All the Apostle Paul did was tell the centurion his identity. The rest was up to the authority of the Kingdom of Rome and its ability to uphold the privileges bestowed upon its citizens. Think about that for a moment. God’s Word tells us,
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”John 1:12-13
and because of that we can confidently say
“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,”Philippians 3:20
The Citizen’s Privileges
The Lord God has become our God and our Father. We have been born again into His family. We are now citizens of Heaven. Therefore, we are entitled to the benefits and privileges available to Children of God.
Because of the Blood of Jesus, we enjoy forgiveness of sins and a clean conscience from our horrible acts and deeds (1 John 1:7, Hebrews 9:14). We have protection and provision (John 10:11-13, Matthew 6:25-34) health and peace (Deuteronomy 7:12-15, Proverbs 3:7-8, John 14:27-28) works and rewards (John 17:4, 2 Timothy 4:7-8) instruction and guidance (Psalm 32:8, John 16:13) access and audience (Ephesians 2:14-18, Hebrews 4:16) to name a few.
We also share in suffering with Christ, as we take up our cross and follow after Him. (Matthew 5:10-12, Luke 9:22-24, Acts 14:19-22, Romans 8:12-18, Philippians 3:10-12, Hebrews 12:1-3, 1 peter 3:12-17, 1 Peter 4:12-16, James 1:1-3). This is one way that God perfects our faith and conforms us into the image of Christ. We would benefit much from meditating on these scriptures. When the devil comes to attack next time, we will be prepared to use God’s Word as a Sword of Truth, just like Jesus showed us in the wilderness.
The Citizens Duties
Alongside the privileges, are the citizen’s duties and responsibilities. While I am not intending to write an exhaustive list of privileges, duties, and responsibilities in this short blog post, I would like to make you aware of what we have at our disposal and what is expected of us.
To start off with, we must always remember that we are to act as Ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20). We represent a Heavenly Kingdom to a worldly world. We represent the Kingdom of Light in a kingdom of darkness. Jesus said that we are light and salt to this world (Matthew 5:13). We are light to show the world the path to Jesus, and salt to stop the decay and corruption of the world.
Secondly, we should know the Law of our God. Ignorance of the law is not a defense that can be used before a judge. When I say this, I don’t mean to be legalistic, or that salvation comes by works. Salvation is by faith alone, and that faith is in the finished work of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on the Cross He died on on Calvary. He died for my sins so that I may live with His Righteousness. But as a citizen, we must know the Law of God in order to be good citizens (Hosea 4:6). In order to serve properly and obey perfectly (Psalm 119:11). Since it is impossible to keep God’s Law perfectly, the Holy Spirit was promised to us and given upon Jesus’ ascension to Heaven (Ezekiel 36:25-32).
The other use of the Law is to show man of his utter hopelessness and drive us to God’s Grace freely available in the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Romans 3:19-20). There is none righteous according to the Law, and we must tell the world that they are guilty of breaking the Law of God and will die in their sins if they do not repent.
Another duty of every Citizen of Heaven is to serve and obey. We serve and obey God with gladness in our heart (Deuteronomy 28:46-48, Psalm 100:1-3). Obedience was the life of Christ. Disobedience was the death of Adam. The battle rages on. Will we obey or will we rebel? We were created to do good works. We were created to obey God. While we were dead in our sins, we obeyed the prince of the power of the air as sons of disobedience. Now that we are alive in Christ, should we not obey our Heavenly Father? (Ephesians 2:1-3, 10)Obedience was the life of Christ. Disobedience was the death of Adam. Click To Tweet
Let us go about joyfully living our lives here on Earth equipped with these truths. Even though we are guests and pilgrims in this earth, we have enough provision to get us from here to Heaven. May God help us all.
Let me know in the comments other privileges and responsibilities that should be listed too.