“For our conversation is in heaven: from whence we also look for the Savior,
the Lord Jesus Christ:” Philippians 3:20
By Riley J. Hood-CPoW State Chairman
A popular tactic of the social gospel is to quote the NIV translation of Philippians 3:20, stating; “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.” The liberals usually don’t quote the whole verse, they quote, “But our citizenship is in heaven.” Before I go into my remarks, I will state upfront, I read, recommend and quote the King James Authorized Translation of the Holy Scriptures. I can’t delve into that area, but I believe in “God’s Word Preserved and Faithfully Translated.”
The reason such men quote the NIV, even if they never preach from the NIV; is they like the way that phrase sounds, and they want to spurn their duties as Christians in America. So the “Citizenship in heaven,” concept is their rationale to justify their social work, and their contempt for their own country.
So, is the word Citizen a mistranslation, as compared to the word conversation? It is out of context, the verse is talking about Jesus’ second coming. However, when I referenced my Strong’s Concordance, the term used was “politeuma,” meaning citizenship, or conversation. It differs from “anastrophe,” the Greek word usually rendered “conversation,” or “behavior.” “Politeuma,” is used in Philippians 3:20 as conversation, and in Philippians 1:27 the word “politeumai,” is used meaning to behave as a citizen. According to the Vine’s Bible Dictionary, “Politeuma-signifies the condition or life of the citizen-AV- our citizenship is in heaven.”
Both words regarding citizenship are from the Greek Politos, and Polis. Polis is the word city in Revelations 21:2, 21:14 and 21:19. Polis is where we get Politics, and Polity from. A Polis in the Hellenic world meant a City-State. In Ancient Greece, all Politics was local literally.
What I experienced was apostate men lifting a Scripture out of context, for their own purposes. There are places in the Bible that refer to citizenship down here, in this present age. The Apostle Paul used his right of appeal to Caesar; he also asserted his right to prevent himself from being scourged. Then there is the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10 So you can see that being a citizen of heaven, and behaving as such, isn’t a call to escapism, it is a call to Christian Statesmanship.
Regarding the Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrate, who better to behave as a Christian, a Christian or a non-Christian? There is nothing idolatrous about you as a Christian trying for an appointment to the Board of Zoning Appeals, or the School Board’s Parental Advisory Committee, or the Parade Committee, or the Graffiti Abatement Board. You have the mind of Christ, the unbeliever doesn’t. I find it cheap and hypocritical when the Christians complain about the lack of Christian Statesmen, when they won’t run, won’t serve, and won’t support their fellow Christians involvement in Politics, which is part of their duties toward God. The people of God can demonstrate their heavenly citizenship right now, here on earth by applying the local initiative, and standing for the truth in these perilous times.