There is lots of debate today about immigration both legal and illegal. Some have said that borders are immoral. One side seems to want open borders with anyone who want to come to the United States being welcomed. The other side wants to build a wall and keep everyone out – so they can be funneled through the legal immigration/refugee process. All this debate about immigration has also led to the Supreme Court — with President Trump wanting to include a question about citizenship on next year’s census. I have some very strong thoughts and feelings about those political issues and guess what – I am going to keep them to myself! I am keeping them to myself because residency verses citizenship and legal verses illegal immigration is really not the point of this blog post.
As Christians we often miss the most important point when it comes to citizenship. If you are a follower of Christ, the Bible describes you as an alien in this world. You may not be an illegal alien, but don’t get so caught up in the fight over immigration that you forget where your citizenship truly resides! Don’t get me wrong, I am proud to be an American. I believe that our country has done more good in this world than any other country in the history of the world! But the truth is my citizenship as an American is only temporary. And so is yours.
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. Philippians 3:20-21
It is no small coincidence that the Apostle Paul is reminding the Philippian believers about their true citizenship. The city of Philippi had become an important city in the Roman Empire. Many retired Roman soldiers had made the city their home and many had great pride in being a part of the Empire. Paul’s letter was in some ways a warning against taking pride in the wrong things. Paul wanted the Christians to understand that while the Empire may be great in that it provided them with protection and status in the world’s eyes, followers of Christ were not to serve the emperor alone. Rather, they were to serve the King of Kings! The true allegiance of the believer must always be to God’s kingdom and not our earthly leaders. Especially when they conflict with each other.
So, the next time you feel yourself getting worked up over the latest news story about illegal immigration or questions of citizenship – remember that your citizenship is in heaven and it is forever sealed by the finished work of Christ! You didn’t need an immigration lawyer to argue your case. You didn’t need to find some “coyote” to sneak you across the border. Your citizenship was purchased by Christ’s sacrifice. Jesus the righteous judge has declared it and for eternity it will be!