– Hannah More
Believers live in the tension between being citizens of the kingdom and not yet seeing its fulfillment (Rev 21:1-2). The Apostle Paul says that “our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil 3:20), so even Paul says we’re citizens of heaven but we wait for the King of that kingdom, our “Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Someday we will receive new bodies, and for me, near my middle 60’s, it can’t come soon enough. That great day it will be God Himself “who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself” (Phil 3:21). This will take the power of God because right now our mortal bodies are decaying and passing away and into the dust (Psalm 103:14), but we have a promise from Jesus that whoever “believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this” (John 11:26)?
Citizens of the Kingdom
What an amazing privilege to be saved by God and be adopted by God (Eph 1), especially considering “that you (and I) were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world“ (Eph 2:12), but now, “you (and I) are no longer strangers and aliens, but you (and I) are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Eph 2:19).
The New Earth
Hannah More, in saying, “The soul on earth is an immortal guest” is true because we will either go to one place or the other. It is either heaven or hell, but for the child of God, it is the New Jerusalem, where heaven comes down to earth. The Apostle John “saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev 21:1-2). Of course the bride is the church, and Jesus is the Bridegroom. The best part of the New Jerusalem is that “the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God” (Rev 21:4).
How close is Christ to returning? It seems soon, doesn’t it, but really, I don’t know. I pray it is, but God is patient, waiting for some to yet come to repentance and faith. Perhaps He will use us as a means to help them be saved. Of course, it is God alone Who saves (Acts 4:12), but He certainly uses His children to bring others into His family, where they too are adopted, and become the very children of God (Eph 1).