A Colony of Heaven

If you weren’t born Canadian, you probably went through an expensive and complicated process to gain citizenship.  The rights of citizenship are valued around the world, for with it comes all the benefits of the state.  Pride of citizenship motivates a person to appreciate their new country and to live in a way that honours it.

Paul told the Philippian Christians that they possessed citizenship in heaven. (Phil 3:20)  The original language means either the state itself, or the rights of belonging to it.  Thus some versions of the New Testament use the word “commonwealth.”  One version says, “We are a colony of heaven.” (Moffat)  No doubt this thought is what the Philippians gathered from Paul’s words.This was significant to these people because Philippi was a Roman colony.  As the Romans conquered new territories, they built special cities that looked and acted like Rome itself.  They were usually populated by former Roman soldiers who had finished their military service and were very patriotic and loyal to Italy.  Roman law was enforced, Latin was spoken, Roman clothes were worn, and Roman morals were observed.

Paul was telling these Christians that, just as Roman citizens in far-flung colonies never forgot their loyalty to Rome, we must also never forget that we are citizens of heaven and we must be loyal to Jesus Christ.  Our lives need to honour Him.

We are a colony of heaven.

-Tim Johnson