Those who become naturalized citizens in the United States are not required to give up their citizenship in their country of origin. They enjoy the privilege and corresponding responsibilities of dual citizenship.
Christians also possess a kind of dual citizenship. We may have a national identity based on our country of origin or an ethnic heritage that gives us a sense of who we are. But because we have been united to Christ by faith, our primary identity is now heavenly. We are citizens of heaven because we have a heavenly expectation. We “eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,” who will return one day to establish His kingdom on earth (v. 20). Whatever other labels we may claim, our primary allegiance is to Him. What is more, Scripture tells us that we have already begun to enjoy the benefits of our citizenship in that kingdom and will one day experience it in its fullness (Col. 1:12–13).
On this side of the Second Coming, we experience Christ’s kingdom through the power it has to “bring everything under his control” (Phil. 3:21). God demonstrates His rule by transforming us through His Spirit. As Romans 14:17 says, the kingdom is a matter of “righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” The experience of God’s transforming power in the present time anticipates a more significant change that will take place in the age to come. Christ “will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body” (v. 21). Not only is the gospel a message of forgiveness, but it is also one of transformation. The great hope of the Christian life is that one day “we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).
>> What does it mean to live as a citizen of the kingdom? According to 1 John 3:3, “All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.”
Teach us our role as citizens of heaven who live on earth. How are we to invest in our countries and communities without placing our hope in them? Guide us in conduct that glorifies you.