Useful Bible Studies > Philippians Commentary > chapter 3

Citizens of heaven

Philippians 3:20

From birth, Paul was a citizen of Rome (Acts 22:25-29), although he did not go there until near the end of his life. So, Paul lived among people who did not have the special legal rights that he had. Although he was living in countries far from Rome, he lived there under the protection of Rome’s government. That mattered because Rome’s government was the most powerful government in the world.

Christians are citizens of heaven, even while they live in this world. As God’s people, they obey his laws gladly, and they live under his protection. This situation is temporary. The death of their bodies will cause their spirits to enter heaven, to be with Christ always (1:23). However, it is not for death that they wait.

Rather, they wait for their Saviour, that is, Christ, to return. The ‘Saviour’ means the hero who saves (rescues) his people, to bring them safety. For example, a military leader who rescues a city from its enemies is called the saviour of that city.

In the same way, Christ has rescued his people from the power of the devil (Hebrews 2:14-15). However, they will only know perfect peace and safety in this world when Christ returns (see Luke 2:14). He will then end the devil’s power in this world (Revelation 19:11 to 20:4); he will establish his rule of perfect peace over all things (Isaiah 11:1-9; Philippians 3:21). So as our Saviour, Christ has rescued us; and as our Saviour, Christ will bring complete peace and safety to our world. He already rules heaven; and in the future, heaven’s government will rule completely over this world too (Psalms 2 and 110).

Next part: Like the body of Christ in his glory (Philippians 3:21)


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© 2020, Keith Simons.