Theology Thursday: Citizens of Heaven Dwelling on Earth

Dr. Rob Krise

Angels in circular motion going upward into the sky

Today’s world is fast-paced, offers nonstop information and entertainment through the internet, and provides a flood of news and commentary on today’s events for the reader to enjoy. In fact, some of it may even be true. Sometimes the constant voices can be overwhelming since it is hard to know which ones are worth our attention. It is in this environment that Christians must live and function according to the Bible, but how do we do that?

But the World Is so Different Now

Jesus prayed to the Father to keep his followers from the evil one, but not to take them out of the world (John 17:15). Remember, when Jesus uttered this prayer, it was during the Roman Empire. This was not a friendly environment for those who were against Emperor Worship. In this non-friendly to Christians environment, Jesus prayed for the believers he would leave behind after he went to the cross. Not long after this prayer, Jesus was gone. He was crucified, buried, resurrected and ascended. Now what? The disciples were left all alone in a very hostile place. This sounds familiar.

As already mentioned, we are inundated by information that is typically hostile toward Christianity. Thankfully, the answer appears a little later in Jesus’ prayer. He prayed that the Father would keep us from the evil one by setting us apart in His truth, the Bible (John 17:17). Jesus made it plain that we are “sanctified” or set apart from the world by His Word and these words are just as applicable today. In His prayer, Jesus made sure to include us. In verse 20, Jesus prayed for those who would believe in Him through the efforts of His disciples. That, by the way, is us.

A Modern Model

All this sounds encouraging but trying to live a 1st century life in a 21st century world may not make any sense. Since many of the institutional structures that have housed the voice of Christianity of centuries have faded in popularity, how can we live the Christian life in a practical way? The answer to this question comes in living a “sacred” life in a concrete manner.* We can’t really rely on institutions to carry the message since that is our job. People need to see genuine Christianity in the lives of His followers as the Christian presents God’s love through their lives.

Sacred living is not mystical or weird. It is connected to God and connected to the world around us. Sacred living can blossom while participating in something as simple as an 8-ball league for a hobby in a local billiard parlor. For example, a local pool league can be a place in which this “sacred” or inclusive, loving attitude towards its members can show great value. Our time in these outlets can produce tangible results for the Kingdom when we are there for God’s glory. If we allow God to sanctify us in His truth and take that message to others in a loving way, we can successfully be citizens of Heaven and dwell on this earth.

*Retrieved from:

Lam, J. (2020). Christonomy in a world come of age: The vision and actualization of Bonhoeffer’s Christian ethics. Phronema, 35(2), 61–83.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.

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