In the Apostle’ Letter to the Philippians, (the paragraph of Chapter 3:17-21) Paul presents the idea of the future has been that he is a citizen of heaven and is conducting himself daily as one who belongs to that better country. But, while advancing to the statement of this celestial citizenship, he pauses parenthetically over the state of those whose homeland is of the earth and earthly. The contrast in this paragraph is between the earthly citizenship of the world and the celestial citizens of heaven.
The distinctive difference of these citizenships can be viewed as pearls for us who seek of wisdom or insight in this portion of Holy Scripture. So, in this post let us take a deep look at the citizens of the world.
The Citizens of the World (Verses. 18-19) Here we have several things to notice.
● A citizen of the world can be defined as a heathen or pagan which denotes “an unconverted member of a people or nation that does not acknowledge the God of the Bible”. (Merriam-Webster) In heathenism the aim of life is for the most part to adore and gratify the flesh. Appetite is master. The mind and heart are simply the slaves of craving.
Now as a worshipper, the heathen can never rise above the object of adoration. The man who worships appetite sinks into a mere quivering mass of appetite. Lust calls for satisfaction. Eating, drinking, and the gratification of the fleshly lusts become the total of life. A consequence of this devotion is the degradation of the earthly man to, or even below, the level of the wild animal.
● Their glory is in their shame. Instead of being ashamed of their lustful courses, they glory in them. They parade their degradations. It is a terrible descent when men lose the sense of shame and brazenly manifests their state of depravity.
● Their mind is wholly centered on earthly things. That is, they look no further for their rest. They settle down in this plague-stricken land. They allow their notions to be bounded only by the horizon of the seen and the temporal. They take no broader view than this life affords them.
● They are consequently enemies of Christ's cross which is the great foe of worldly mindedness. The cross of Christ opposes the adoration of the appetites; it opposes self-indulgence in every sinful form; and consequently, the citizens of this spiritual darkness are its adversary.
Having gained some wisdom or insight about the earthly citizens of this world, we will in the next post, discover a few spiritual pearls that pertain to celestial citizens of heaven.
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