By Lim Chien Chong
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: (Eph 2:19-21)
Singapore celebrates our National Day on 9th August. On this day, 55 years ago, we were granted independence. This is the day that we not only commemorate the beginning of our nation but we also celebrate our privileges and pride as citizens.
If you were to talk to the 15 million stateless people around the world, they will tell you how precious citizenship is. Although they are residing in a place, they do not have an identity or rights. In some places, it is very difficult for them to attend school or have access to health services. This is what a stateless person said, “To be stateless is like you don’t exist; you live in a parallel world with no proof of your identity”.
While we thank God for our pink ICs, there is a citizenship that is even more precious. We are citizens of God’s kingdom (Eph 2:19)
1. We are God’s kingdom
Whenever we end our travels and return home, we feel welcomed the moment we pass through the Singapore immigration checkpoint. We enjoy a privileged clearance lane and experience a warm feeling when the immigration officer says, “Welcome home!”. Our passports are more than just travel documents; they remind us of our identity and privileges as citizens.
Eph 2:19 tells us we are God’s citizens. God is our ruler and king. Every spiritual heavenly blessing comes with our identity as Christians. We are delivered and protected from the tyranny of sin, the devil and any other external forces that can destroy us. Today, we are governed by God and kept safe by His powerful hands. That’s a tremendous privilege!
In addition, the bible describes us as children in God’s family (Eph 2:19)
2. We are God’s family
I come from a family of seven. There were many endearing moments and wonderful memories with my family. When I was younger, I particularly love the trips that we took together. They were rare occasions as we did not come from a well-to-do family. What’s memorable was the family excitement and the quality time we spent, doing things together. There is really no place like home!
The bible tells us that we are children together in God’s household. Today, we can have this sense that we belong to God’s household. As children, we have a new set of relationships. We have God as our Father and one another as brothers and sisters. I am so grateful for the family ties that I have with many Gracians as well as other believers of Christ.
Besides being a member of God’s kingdom and family, we are also God’s temple (Eph 2:21).
3. We are God’s temple
My granny used to bring me to the Chinese temples when I was young. There, many people would be seeking blessings from the deities.
What’s interesting for the Christian is that we ourselves are God’s temple because He lives in and among us. We are “like living stones” (1 Pet 2:5) and to be “a living sacrifices” (Rom 12:1) - everything we do and say are expressions of our worship to God. Worship is not just limited to what happens on a Sunday. This makes our lives very significant.
I have a Canadian friend who used to be a policeman. On one occasion, he had to run a very small errand for the Queen of England when she was on an official visit to Canada. He was really proud of it and kept telling me about how he was once at Her Majesty’s service. We are even more privileged. We serve our God, the Almighty King; we are at His Majesty’s service every moment of our lives.
4. Jesus Christ is our cornerstone
We are God’s kingdom, He is our King, and we have a new identity. We are God’s family, He is our Father and we have new relationships. We are God’s temple, He is our God and we have a new significance in life.
All these are possible because of Jesus. He died for our sins so that we can be forgiven and restored in our relationship with God. He also rose again by conquering death to be our victorious king. Because of His resurrection, we can have new lives.
As such, let’s remember that Jesus is our chief cornerstone (Eph 2:20). Not only must He remain the foundation of our faith, He must also be the reference point of our lives, defining and shaping the way we think and live.