During the afternoon of the 4th of July, I went to a lake here in Lincoln to see some friends. They are from Burma. They are from The Karen People of Burma. I stopped by to see them and wish them a Happy 4th of July.
It was great to see some friends there that I met when The Karen People first started to come to my city in 2007/2008. It brought back memories such as making several trips to an Asian Market with them on the weekends taking four at a time. Most of them did not have cars yet.
Many of them have become U.S. citizens, bought houses, and have made good lives here. Seeing them on the 4th caused me to think about citizenship in heaven.
My refugee friends come to America not knowing their future. They only know they have escaped the dangers they fled from. Before coming here, they only know that America is a good country to come to, but the reality of what life is like here is not a concrete idea. It is only a hope based on what they have heard. They are flown here not knowing where they are going exactly. When they arrive, someone has arranged housing and assistance for them. That caused me to think about going to heaven.
Jesus said in John 14:
“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am”
Right now Jesus is preparing places for his people. He will come back for those who belong to him through faith in him. We don’t know what heaven is like. We only know that it is a wonderful place and that we will be with Jesus there and reunited with loved ones. Everything will be prepared for us before we arrive.
A big difference between what my refugee friends experience and what those who have trusted in Jesus experience is the issue of citizenship. My refugee friends have to wait five years after receiving their Permanent Resident Cards to apply for citizenship. Then they have to take a test. If they pass the test, most have to wait for a ceremony a few months later.
Citizenship in heaven is granted in the here and now. We become citizens of heaven while we are on earth by trusting in Jesus and his death on the cross for us. We become citizens of heaven before we ever arrive there. Philippians 3 says:
“But our citizenship is in heaven.And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,”
There is no application, no test, but there will be a grand ceremony when we arrive in heaven as citizens. There is celebration when a person becomes a citizen of heaven while still in this life. Luke 15:
“In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents”
As much as I treasure my U.S. citizenship, my citizenship in heaven is far more valuable and is for all eternity. My U.S. citizenship will end when I die. Our citizenship in heaven will never end.
Thank you for reading, God Bless.