I want to talk to you about a citizenship that is much more important than being a citizen of the USA or any other country – citizenship in heaven. One day, we will all experience death. Knowing where we will spend eternity is far more important than our citizenship here on earth.
To be a citizen of the USA you have to be born here or go through a process called naturalization. To be naturalized, you have to meet certain requirements and it can be a lengthy process. Thank God, being a citizen of heaven is much easier than becoming a citizen of the USA because God did all the hard work to help us get into heaven.
None of us are born citizens of heaven because we have all sinned against God. Our sin keeps us out of heaven. All of us are sinners because we have all violated God’s laws. The Bible says that ALL have sinned and fall short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23) and that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).
One of the requirements to become a citizen of the USA is being a person of “good moral character.” However, God’s standard for heavenly citizenship is much higher. He is perfect! Since none of us can achieve perfection, God provided a way for us to be with Him even though we fall short of His perfection. He took the penalty for our sin upon Himself. He died the death that we deserved.
What did God do for us?
- He sent His only Son to earth to die on the cross for our sins.
- He resurrected Christ from the dead to demonstrate His power over sin and death.
- He gives us the opportunity to live for eternity in heaven if we will accept His free offer of forgiveness.
God’s gift to us is citizenship in heaven if we will accept it. The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23). God does this because He loves us and does not want us to be separated from Him. Ephesians 2:4-6 says,
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus…”
To be a U.S. citizen, you must be a lawful permanent resident, have been in the U.S. for a certain number of years, and meet other requirements such as the good moral character requirement. Thankfully, God doesn’t make it so hard. You don’t have to go to church a certain number of years to be saved.
What are the requirements to become a citizen of heaven?
According to the Bible you must:
- Hear the message of Jesus Christ.
- Believe in your heart that Jesus was raised from the dead.
- Confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord.
(See Romans 10)
You Must be Born Again
By meeting these requirements, you become what the Bible calls “born again.” Jesus said that to enter God’s kingdom we must be born again (see John 3:1-21).
Think of being born again like becoming a citizen of the USA. First, you were born here on earth in your home country. But then you moved to the USA to start a new life. When you receive your citizenship, it’s like experiencing a new birth, hopefully a new birth of freedom and opportunity in your life. Likewise, we have all been born on this earth, but to live for eternity with God in heaven we must experience a new birth, a spiritual rebirth. We must be born again spiritually.
The link between you and God is faith. When you confess Jesus as Lord of your life by faith, you will experience what it means to be born again. You are born into a new kingdom, a new home, a new country. And now you have a citizenship certificate that no one can take away, citizenship in heaven. God gives you the right to live in His house for all eternity. Just like your U.S. citizenship, which you cannot lose, no one can take away what God has given you.
You Have a New Family
The Bible says, “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God…” (Ephesians 2:19).
When you become a citizen of heaven, you also become a child of God. You not only gain a new country, but you gain a new family. You have been adopted into God’s family. The Bible says, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13).
- Find a Bible-believing church where you can be in fellowship with other believers and grow as a Christian.
- Get a Bible and begin to read and study God’s word.
- Be baptized to show publicly your commitment to Christ.
“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body…” -Philippians 3:20-21