Citizens of the kingdom of God
Published 8:37 am Thursday, September 8, 2022
From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
Dear Rev. Graham: I never knew much about Christianity growing up but when I was invited to a neighborhood cookout, a wonderful preacher sat next to me and talked about Heaven. It was much different from what I imagined and the more I inquired and learned, the more I wanted the joy he spoke about. After talking and praying with him, I turned my life over to Christ. As I left someone said that I was now a pilgrim. What does that mean and what does dual citizenship mean? — E.S.
Dear E.S.: We are citizens on Earth, but the moment we accept Christ as Lord and Savior, we also become citizens of Heaven. While we live on Earth we ought to vote, pay our taxes, help make our communities safe places to live, reach out to those in need, and most of all proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
There is a song with a lyric that used to be popular: “This world is not my home I’m just passing through.” This is true for everyone, but Christians understand the lyric more clearly than perhaps others do because believers in Christ Jesus follow Him in this life that lasts only a brief time as we prepare for the next life that will last for eternity. Hebrews 11:13 calls those who follow Christ strangers and pilgrims on Earth and believers look forward to everlasting life with Jesus as He promised in John 14.
We experience a foretaste of Heaven when we become Christians because He comes to live in us, helping us walk according to His ways while still on Earth. As long as we are on this earth, we possess dual citizenship. On one hand, we owe allegiance to our nation and are called to be good citizens. But we are also citizens of the kingdom of God. Our supreme loyalty is to Him.
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)