Citizenship in Heaven | What Does it Mean

Let’s learn what this citizenship in heaven entails, how you can acquire it, and how to keep it.

To begin, our citizenship in heaven is secured the moment we are reborn spiritually. This happens when we turn our backs on worldly desires that corrupt the soul, confess our sins, and declare in spirit and in truth that the Lord Jesus Christ lives and rules an eternal holy nation for His believers. 

As citizens of heaven, our hearts should not be fixed on the things of this world which are fleeting but on the things above which cannot be shaken nor stolen. To become a citizen of the kingdom of Jesus Christ is something Christians should work on – to be worthy of the honor and privilege of being part of the divine republic. 

Citizenship in Heaven

What Does the Bible Say About Citizenship in Heaven?

Our mortal bodies were formed from dust and to dust, it shall return. But the Bible tells us that with Jesus, we are no longer bound to death. What does this mean? This does not mean that death cannot touch us literally but an assurance that a life lived with faith in Christ, warrants our eternal citizenship.

St. Paul the Apostle wrote to the Philippian Christians, “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.” – Philippians 3:20. The Bible, through this passage, reminds us that as Christians, we are citizens of heaven, eagerly waiting on this Earth for the coming of Jesus Christ. 

From birth to death, what we do will define whether or not we qualify for the inheritance that is eternal life. As we wait, we shall do so in a manner worthy to receive the honor and privilege of being citizens of heaven.

The Gospel also speaks of how we were saved from eternal death by the blood Christ Jesus shed on the cross. We and all our fathers are all stained by the original sin but we no longer remain captives of sin. We are no longer citizens of this world only. God through the death of Jesus, His son, offered us salvation, redemption, and a chance to partake in His heavenly places. With this, everyone has been offered and called to become God’s citizens but not all qualify.

Matthew 7:21 says, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” This reminds us that professing with our tongues that Jesus Christ is the Lord is not enough. This should be matched by actions, walking in faith, and living a life guided by the Holy Spirit. 

As they say, actions will always speak louder than words. In Christ Jesus, nothing is hidden as He knows the very core of our hearts. At the end of the day every action, word, and thought will determine whether or not we are worthy.

Who is Qualified for a Citizenship in Heaven?

When Jesus paid the ransom for our sins on the cross, it was not with limitations. He did not only pay for a select race nor the righteous but everyone. However, while every human being can become a citizen of heaven, not everyone is qualified.

Sin, time and again, separates us from God. While God already paid our ransom, the choice of whether or not to walk a sinful life depends on us. Simply put, whether or not we are granted citizenship in heaven depends on us. Do we live by faith? Do we favor eternal things over earthly things? Also, do our actions glorify God? Do we wholeheartedly and without limitations or hesitations accept God as our Lord and Savior?

The answers to the questions above will greatly impact one’s qualification to become a citizen of heaven. Presently, many walk the Earth blinded by the love for material things which leads to destruction. Even the believers are not exempted from the many temptations of the world. But God won’t put us in a situation He cannot get us through. 

This being said, to become citizens of heaven is not an easy sail. It will require strength to resist the devil, faith to keep moving forward amidst uncertainties, and obedience to keep doing God’s will even if others choose not to.

Requirements for a Citizenship in Heaven

Just as in the affairs of this world, there are requirements for a child of God to become a citizen in His holy kingdom and bask in the greatness of His glory. There is no better country than the place only our God can offer. It would be a shame for a believer to know of the greatness of God’s kingdom yet not eagerly wait for the coming of Christ and continue to patronize a world that Satan rules. 

How then do we qualify for eternal citizenship offered by God? Though there may be a long list of how to do so, they can be summed up into three:

Be Spiritually Born Again

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ – John 3:5-7

Being born of the flesh, we all inherited the stain of the original sin. How then do we break free? The answer is simple yet most believers find it hard to do: spiritual rebirth. By being spiritually born again, we break free from the shackles of sin and inch closer to the eternal life Lord Jesus Christ offers. 

However, being spiritually born again is not merely a decision a Christian makes but a way of life. A life you keep choosing no matter how hard it gets and a life you live as you eagerly wait for the coming of our Savior.

To be spiritually born again means completely turning our backs on the things that make us unworthy to face the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not only declaring Him as our God but also thinking, speaking, and acting as His children should. By being spiritually reborn, we become a new creation that is made possible by the gift called forgiveness God offered to everyone.

Live with and for Christ

If we live with Christ we should also live for Christ. Spiritually reborn Christians reflect this decision in the life they live. You cannot be spiritually reborn yet only live like one in some selected facets of your life. However, to live with Christ and for Him means living a Christian life regardless of your situation or who you are with. Whether your family, colleagues, peers or even strangers should bear witness to the life you now live with Christ and glorify His name through your works.

However, many seasonally walk the Christian life. That is, to say, only when the odds are in their favor or they need divine intervention. Is God’s love for us conditional? Does our goal of acquiring citizenship in heaven change by the season? If God with all His glory, power, and splendor is steadfast in His unchanging love for us, why should we only live for Him when it is convenient for us?

To live with and for Christ is a decision and path we constantly choose to stay on regardless of the enemies tempting us not to, especially when the enemies tempt us not to. 

Die with and for Christ

As believers of Christ, our citizenship is in heaven, why fear death? Why die for someone else? For something else? Our heavenly citizenship hinges on the life we lived on Earth. Our physical bodies will decompose with death but our spirit will not for there is no death in Christ. In fact, for Christians, death is just the beginning of eternal life. It is the doorway to claiming heavenly citizenship. This is summed up by Philippians 1:21, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

On our deathbed, there is no reason to fear once you were spiritually reborn and lived with Christ for there is peace in the assurance of knowing that, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4)

Citizenship in Heaven

Bible Verses About Citizenship in Heaven

The prospect of being citizens in heaven is not made up. Thus, we fixed our eyes not on the perspectives of this world but on an eternal perspective where the spiritual blessing is granted by God. In the Bible, the eternal citizenship offered by Christ was referenced several times, among which include:

Hebrews 11:16

Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” 

There will always be a longing that the earthly things and all their combined riches cannot satisfy. We remember the lives of Abraham, Isaac, and all the great exemplars of faith in the Bible. They have displayed an eternal perspective and understanding that their tribulations and the cross they carry cannot compare to the joy they are to experience once they rightfully claim their heavenly citizenship in the eternal kingdom of God.

In this world, many will tempt us to fold from our faith and satisfy our worldly desires instead. But we fix our eyes not on the things we can see, but on the things that are yet to come. The Lord Jesus Christ prepared a room for each believer in His divine kingdom. 

The life we have lived for and with Christ Jesus will never be in vain. John 14:2 says, “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” Has God ever slacked in His promises? Never.

Ephesians 2:19

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household.” 

As Christians, this Earth is but a foreign country where we sojourn and prove if we are worthy of the heavenly citizenship Jesus Christ offers. As members of the divine republic, there will be no strangers, foreigners, or many nationalities. But together, as children of God, we are fellow citizens of heaven, a kingdom that cannot be shaken and maintained by God’s royal priesthood.

The world offers us many types of citizenship, bound by laws, and with distinct limitations. If we do our best to abide in the laws of this world which will soon perish, why not do the same as we eagerly await the coming of Christ? 

Being members of God’s household, each one of us has duties. The Gospel of the Lord is not meant to stop with us but to be shared with others, even with strangers and foreigners. In this way, they too, may know of the great glory of God and be given the chance to prove themselves worthy of being citizens of heaven someday.

Indeed, in the eternal kingdom that is to come, there is no superior nor inferior nationality. Everyone no matter what skin color or language they speak is loved equally by Christ Jesus.

John 18:36

“Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.

Jesus Christ said so Himself, His kingdom is not of this world where thieves come and take. This world we currently live in is but a foreign land compared to the greatness of the heavenly place. A place not ruled by leaders with malice nor there is a servant that is mistreated. In heaven, there will be no warring nations, no disputes on territories, and there will be weeping.

Jesus Christ is not from this mortal world. He descended from heaven to redeem a race of lost sinners and to save a fallen creation from the ravages of sin and destruction. Soon enough, in the second coming, He will once again descend from heaven. When He does, may He find us eagerly waiting for Him and worthy to be among His citizens in His eternal kingdom.

Can One’s Citizenship in Heaven be Revoked?

Sin. This is the ultimate obstacle that each Christian faces here on Earth. Sin and guilt isolate us from God. When we are isolated from Him, how can we be for Him? We were all warned in Romans 6:23 that the wages of sin is death but the gift of Christ Jesus our Lord is eternal life in His eternal kingdom. Without repentance, we cannot say that our citizenship is in heaven.

Further, while all of us were freed from the bondage of sins when Jesus paid the price at the cross, whether or not we revoke the eternal citizenship offered to us, depends on us. It depends on the choices we make, the life we live, and the kind of faith we display.

Citizenship in the World vs. Citizenship in Heaven

The benefits of being a citizen of this world end when our physical bodies perish. However, citizenship that is in heaven is eternal. In this world, we are ruled by leaders of different sorts, each with their agenda – whether good or bad. However, as eternal citizens of the eternal kingdom, we will be ruled over by Jesus Christ. A leader that knows no corruption, has no failed promises, and always puts us first.

It is therefore not worthy to enjoy one’s citizenship of this temporal world if it means forsaking one’s heavenly citizenship. Always remember that the joy and glory that is to come cannot come to the one this world offers.

Citizenship in Heaven

In Summary

As believers, our citizenship is in heaven. But we cannot enter the gates of heaven apart from Christ our Savior, can we? The way therefore to this eternal citizenship is Christ Himself. To be spiritually reborn, to live, and die for and with Him. Aside from God, nobody knows what the future holds. Therefore, here’s a question to ponder: If you die tomorrow, are you confident that you will be found worthy of a citizenship in heaven?

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Alex Shute
EDITOR
Alex Shute, MBA
Alex is a family man and entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. His passion is to serve the global Church and bring people of diverse backgrounds together to learn & grow.