Christian Citizenship Part 7: The Complete Heavenly Citizen

Hebrews 11:13-16; I Thessalonians 2:12; I Peter 2:17; Ecclesiastes 12:13
       [The Old Testament believers] all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
       Walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.
       Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.
       Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): [The Old Testament saints] confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on earth. They are strangers as saints, whose home is heaven; they are pilgrims as they are travelling towards their home…Hereby they declared plainly that they sought another country, heaven, their own country. For their spiritual birth is thence, there are their best relations, and there is their inheritance―all true believers desire this better country.

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): Believers before the flood, after the flood, under the law, and since the law, make but one Church. The Gospel dispensation is the last, and the Church cannot be considered as complete till the believers under all dispensations are gathered together…The sum of the great business of human life is comprised in this short sentence, on which some millions of books have been already written! Fear God, and keep His commandments.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): Bear an awful respect to the Divine Majesty, a reverential fear; and from this principle in every part and point of duty…Do it in an evangelical way, I mean; for we can do it now no otherwise.

JOHN GILL (1697-1771): “The fear of God” includes the whole of internal religion, or powerful godliness; all the graces of the Spirit, and the exercise of them; reverence of God, love to Him, faith in Him, and in His Son Jesus Christ; hope of eternal life from Him; humility of soul, patience and submission to His will, with every other grace―and “keeping of His commandments,” or obedience to the whole will of God, is the fruit, effect, and evidence of the former; and takes in all the commands of God, moral and positive…and an observance of them in faith, from a principle of love, and with a view to the glory of God.

JOHN TRAPP: This should be every man’s pilgrimage in this world.

MATTHEW HENRY: Our whole duty is summed up in this and our whole comfort is bound up in this…If we would lead a peaceable and quiet life, we must live in all godliness and honesty; we must do our duty to God and man.

POLYCARP (69-155): We are taught to give honour to princes and potentates, but such honour as is not contrary to God’s religion.

JOHN CHRYSOSTOM (347-407): Howsoever their power be abused, their authority must be acknowledged and obeyed.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): Submission does not mean slavery!

JOHN TRAPP: Good rulers we must obey as God; bad, for God.

RICHARD STEELE (1629-1692): Let it be your endeavour to fill up the station in which you are placed with proper duty, and to promote the public good by all prudent and laudable means.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): The Christian should be the best citizen in the country.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): The world will not care about my testimony with the lip, unless there be also a testimony in my daily life for God, for truth, for holiness, for everything that is honest, lovely, pure and of good report.

ROBERT MURRAY M’CHEYNE (1813-1843): There is no argument like a holy life.

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): Men may refuse to see the truth of our arguments, but they cannot evade the evidence of a holy life…Live a holy life brethren.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: There are many tests that we can apply to ourselves when we want to determine where we stand in the Christian faith…And the test of life is a very important one―our conduct and our behaviour, our morality and our ethics―it’s no use shouting “Lord! Lord!” if we don’t keep His commandments…If you claim to love Christ and yet are living an unholy life, there is only one thing to say about you. You are a bare-faced liar.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): No one is a believer who is not holy, and no one is holy who is not a believer.

MATTHEW HENRY: There is no true love to God without faith in Jesus Christ…He cannot approve himself a child of God unless he be a faithful friend and follower of Christ. All that have God for their Father have a true love to Jesus Christ, and esteem of His Person, a grateful sense of His love, a sincere affection to His cause and kingdom, a complacency in the salvation wrought out by Him and in the method and terms of it, and a care to keep His commandments, which is the surest evidence of our love to Him.

C. H. SPURGEON: Obedience is the hallmark of faith…Faith and obedience are bound up in the same bundle. He that obeys God, trusts God; and he that trusts God, obeys God.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): Not only does God require obedience, but an obedience which issues from, is animated by, and is an expression of love.

C. H. SPURGEON: Love to God is the root of love to others.

JOHN ROGERS (1572-1636): Faith assures us of God’s love to us, makes us love God again, and our neighbour for His sake.

WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): Of what importance, then, is the love of God. And how carefully should we inquire whether it be shed abroad in our hearts. Nothing can be a substitute for this affection.

THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): Love is the crowning grace in heaven, but faith is conquering grace upon earth.

MARY WINSLOW (1774-1854): Heaven’s atmosphere is love. Christ’s heart is an ocean of love. Let us endeavour to have as much as we can of heaven in our souls while here. We have but a brief space left to show our love to Christ.

THOMAS MANTON (1620-1677): Christians are the more cold and careless in the spiritual life because they do not oftener think of heaven.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Don’t you see where you’re going? Don’t think of just today, don’t think in terms of time, in a sense you’re out of that. You are now a citizen of the kingdom of God, heaven is your home, our citizenship is there.

MATTHEW HENRY: This world is not our home, but that is.

J. C. RYLE: Live like citizens of heaven.

JOHN FLAVEL (1630-1691): O that we would but steer our course according to those rare politics of the Bible, those divine maxims of wisdom!

DUTCH PSALTER 230 (Psalm 85): And glory in our land shall dwell,
                                                                   When we shall heed God’s precepts well.


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