I AM SECURE
Feeling secure is one of the basic needs of the human condition.
From the building of massive fortresses to locks on our doors, and from putting money aside for a pension to devising powerful passwords for our computer drives, security is a high priority.
Feeling secure in a relationship with a friend or partner means a great deal in terms of peace of mind and overall well-being.
So how secure do you feel in your relationship with God?
Do you believe you are holding on to God, or is God holding you?
This is the theme we focus on in our readings this week.
I am a citizen of Heaven.
Brexit has raised all sorts of questions about citizenship. If you are a citizen of the UK travelling abroad this Summer you will have been advised to check your passport – will it be valid for long enough to guarantee your return to the UK. Some students and workers from overseas are anxious about whether they can remain in the UK. Being a citizen of a country such as the UK confers privileges (think NHS), but also brings responsibilities (think tax).
Although he was a Jew, Paul also had Roman Citizenship, and he made use of that on several occasions when he had been arrested. It prevented a severe beating on one occasion recorded in Acts 22.
When they tied Paul down to lash him, Paul said to the officer standing there, “Is it legal for you to whip a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been tried?” When the officer heard this, he went to the commander and asked, “What are you doing? This man is a Roman citizen!” So the commander went over and asked Paul, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?” “Yes, I certainly am,” Paul replied. “I am, too,” the commander muttered, “and it cost me plenty!” Paul answered, “But I am a citizen by birth!”
As a citizen he was protected by Roman law.
That is exactly the idea Paul has in mind when he reminds the Christians in Philippi that they are citizens of Heaven. ‘But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives’. They are protected and kept safe for eternity by virtue of belonging to the eternal, heavenly Kingdom of God. That is not a guarantee of physical safety in this present world with all its troubles and trials, but it is the promise that our eternal security is the hands of the king who cares for his people.