Philippiansby David Sanford
Paul offers many assurances to the Philippian believers. They offer comfort, encouragement, and hope to us as well.
The first assurance: ″But our citizenship is in heaven″ (Philippians 3:20). We have received God's gifts of faith, salvation, and eternal life. We have changed our allegiance. We know, love, serve, and obey the Lord alone.
Some of my friends hold dual citizenships. Some of my relatives used to have these too, but eventually chose to become the citizen of only one country. No matter what our citizenship status is on earth, our heavenly citizenship is much more real, and it reflects our true identity.
The second assurance: ″And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ″ (v. 20). Paul reminds us that as believers, we have a single devotion. We love Christ, we live for Him, and we look forward to spending eternity with Him in the new heaven and new earth.
Many of my friends live in other nations around the world. It is hard to be far apart, and we long to see each other again. Even if we haven't seen each other in months or even years, love binds our hearts. How much stronger is the bond of love we share with Jesus Christ. We long to see Him-and we have the blessed assurance that we will!
The third assurance: ″By the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, [Jesus Christ] will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body″ (v. 21). Each of us has the incredible promise that Christ will give us a glorious body like His own. In the meantime, our earthly bodies will continue to age, diminish, and eventually perish.
While writing this book, I learnt that my lung disease, which has already cut many years off my projected life span, has infiltrated my heart. My cardiac sarcoidosis could remain status quo for many years. If it progresses to stage three, however, I have a 50-percent chance of dying within a year.
In this context, this third assurance means more to me than ever before. Instead of despairing, I continue to thank the Lord daily for His sovereignty, providence, holiness, love, and mysterious ways. In Christ, our lives are planned. They have purpose, as well as a glorious and eternal future. What more could we want?
Read John 3:16, John 20:30-31, and 1 John 5:13. On a scale from 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest), how certain are you of going to heaven when you die?
In what ways can Paul's three assurances help you ″stand firm in the Lord″ (Philippians 4:1)?