Citizen of Heaven
By Doug Bing, Washington Conference president
Last week was a special week. Vivien Vasquez, one of the administrative assistants at Washington Conference, was sworn in as a citizen of the United States of America. It was a privilege to be able to attend the ceremony. It was also the first time I’ve had the opportunity to see such a ceremony and it did not disappoint!
The National Anthem was played and the Pledge of Allegiance was recited. People from 32 different countries were introduced to the onlookers. Some were wealthy, some were not. There were myriads of skin tones present as they eagerly waited to be official citizens. Several were wheeled on stage in wheelchairs. One was blind and was led up to the stage. Many different faiths were present as well. Young and old all were there for the same reason: they wanted their own citizenship certificate.
The American flags were present and the immigration official made some brief remarks and then declared that the candidates as citizens of the United States. No matter where they came from, they were now United States citizens. Just like that they could now vote, hold political office, apply for a passport and, most importantly, they could speak with confidence that they were United States citizens with all the rights, responsibilities, and privileges that it brings.
The apostle Paul wrote about the Gentiles of his day and how they had been grafted into the tree of salvation (Romans 11:17). As a result of being grafted in, they were part of the kingdom of God and they could have confidence in Jesus Christ and the salvation provided by His death on the cross. They were challenged to not look internally and take pride in themselves but instead to focus on the tree and the roots in which they were grafted. They were challenged to remember that the roots were what was supporting them.
This is what has happened to all who believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior. We are all citizens of the kingdom of heaven with all the rights, responsibilities, and privileges that it brings. No matter where we have come from we can be citizens of heaven. But let us not boast about ourselves. Instead let us lift up Jesus who is our Sustainer. Jesus came the first time to live among us and die for us. And by doing that, He becomes our Advocate and our Judge that declares that we are His children and part of His family.
Let us live each day until He comes the second time sharing faithfully the good news so that others can become citizens of heaven as well!