July 12, 2011

Prisoner For Christ XIV: The Frontier of Heaven

"But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ" Philippians 3:20

Context: Paul was speaking to Philippi here. They were a Roman colony formed in 41-42 BC after the defeat of Brutus. Octavian reconstituted the colony and it took on a decidedly Italian flavor due to the presence of Italian settlers and the constant movement of Roman troops passing through the city because of its strategic position in Macedonia.

From Jesus Christ’s position above all others we then move to a new location in the next chapter of Philippians to read a positional statement about a Christians individually. Paul’s positional statement is actually a duality of positions concerning a saved person’s current condition and their future condition. Paul tells believers that their true citizenship is in heaven but they more or less will need to ride out their tenure here on earth as ambassadors for God. “For our citizenship [Gk: πολίτευμα "politeuma"-citizenship in a commonwealth] is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ...”

We are sort of like a military outpost in the wilderness like Kevin Costner’s character John Dunbar in movie “Dances With Wolves”. We live in this environ/world but we are essentially strangers to it. The quintessential “strangers in a strange land” or as Jesus said in John 17:16, “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” We are here to send the message of Jesus’ redemption, atonement, peace....the ambassadors of Christ but this is not or true home. The whole time we are here on the frontier we continue to look for others like ourselves but one of our main tasks is to spread the seeds of salvation on the borderlands of the frontier in hopes that some of these seeds will meet fertile ground. Christians, like John Dunbar, first represents the higher authority of the Army (Heaven) and secondly represented himself (Christian). We represent Christ and His Kingdom and secondly represent ourselves. What we do on this frontier (the world) dictates whether we live or die and whether others live or die on the eternal scale of things. Our service in this kingdom is a matter of life and death. We are living in a Kingdom that is currently in rebellion against its King. The chances of survival are greatly increased when we plant seeds to produce new seeds and recruit those around us to be a community and establish a bastion of like-minded people. The like-mindedness I speak of is the mind of Jesus Christ. That bastion I speak of is the Church. We become a light on the dark frontier to bring people in from the wilderness so they too can live…eternally.


It is my gratitude at the thought of what God did for me because He first loved me that overflows at the end of reading Philippians. In these types of thoughts I rejoice. It is embedded in the thanksgiving(s) that I offer to God when I pray long before I actually see any results of my prayer. Why? Because I have the faith in God’s goodness and know that He will fulfill what is of paramount importance to my eternal life no matter what. For that I am thankful…as was Paul in Philippians 4.

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:4-7

It is why Paul gave us the command/imperative to rejoice and it is why he offers thanksgiving to God long before he will ever know the outcome to His prayer for the Philippians. We have a loving and steadfast God. Immutable and full of grace and it is these things that comfort me and allow me to sleep soundly at night with no anxiousness or fear. Thank you Father. Thank you. May the peace of God be on the readers of this posts.


Philsthrills said...

That third paragraph sounds uncharacteristically Arminian for you...

Andy Pierson said...

Phil, you need to change your name to Phil the Antagonist (PTA). lol.

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