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Qualifications for Our Heavenly Citizenship

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THERE are qualifications for attaining to anything of value in this life. When a foreign-born person wishes to become a citizen of our country, he must go through certain studies to qualify him for citizenship in the United States. Just so, citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven must have cer­tain qualifications. We cannot be a citizen of that Country and betray the standards or the laws of that Land.

Paul declared that we are ambassadors for Christ. An ambassador is one who represents his country at a foreign court, one who stands for and upholds the principles of the land he represents. As Christians and am­bassadors for Christ, we would be traitors to our heavenly country and to our Sovereign if we failed to live up to and practice the principles of our future Homeland.

So we look into the laws and statutes of our Lord's Kingdom, that we might qualify ourselves as representatives of that land while we are here on this earth — strangers, foreigners, and pilgrims.

The marvelous part about Christian qualifications is that they apply to people in every walk of life. There is no phase of human activity where the principles of Christianity cannot be applied and lived. Christianity is the most practical thing on earth.

Christian living is actuated by a principle down deep in the heart; and if we are not ordering our lives in accordance with that principle as we move in and out among our fellow men, our professed Christianity is a hol­low mockery. God's religion is a pure religion, wholesome, without spot or wrinkle, undefiled before God and man. Do we have God's religion? That is most important if we expect to become a citizen of Heaven. This pure undefiled religion is the kind that is promoted and promulgated by that principle which comes into the heart when the new birth takes place. The new birth enables one to live God's religion; and without the new birth, one cannot qualify for heavenly citizenship.

Wholehearted Love

In Matthew 22:35-37, we read of something most important to Chris­tian living.

"Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a ques­tion, tempting him, and saying,

"Master, which is the great commandment in the law? "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind."

All! All! All! This word "all" is an important word to consider. It came from the lips of Jesus. We do not have to wonder what it means; the first-grader in school knows the definition of "all." Jesus said the first and greatest commandment is to love the Lord thy God with "all" thy heart, soul, and mind. And He said the second commandment is "like unto it": "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." To love "thy neighbour as thyself" is considered the Golden Rule. Many unconverted people say that they live by the Golden Rule; but no one lives by it unless he has the Giver of the Golden Rule in his heart. The nature of the Author of salva­tion must be in his soul. If he is born into the family of God, he derives from his Father the nature of his Father. When a child is born into this world, he derives from his parents the nature, characteristics, and person­alities, that resemble those of his parents. Just so, when we are born of God, there is a nature that comes into our heart that is derived from God; and anyone who professes to be a Christian and does not possess the na­ture of God, the tendencies and characteristics which a Christian must have, is making a pretense.

God's Testing Tube

Chemists have a test tube. They go into their laboratories; put vari­ous chemicals together in a test tube, and find the results which certain mixtures and certain temperatures will bring about.

God has a test tube. He is a wonderful Chemist. He can find just what we are made of, whether or not we have the love of God within. This Book of God is a searcher of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

It is important that we know our standing and find out where we are spiritually. God said to Adam in the Garden, "Where art thou?" It pays to stop long enough to listen to God. Some people pray so fast, loud, and long, that they cannot stop to listen to God. Prayer is not always what we say to God; prayer includes what God has to say to us. Let us listen, and let God speak to us.

The more of the Word of God we have in our heart, soul, and life, the more easily God can manage us. Some people do not get close enough to God to know when He wants them to speak and when He wants them to keep silent. It means much to know the leadings of God; but if we wait on God sufficiently, keep the spirit of prayer within our soul, and keep our heart open, He will lead and direct us into His will.

Welcome the Sword

The Sword of the Spirit is a mighty sharp instrument which can probe, cut, and divide soul and spirit. Not an instrument on earth in the hand of man can do that — but the Spirit of God can. The Word of God can.

When God puts that sharp Sword into our life, which rids us of things in our life which are displeasing to Him, let us accept it. We are told in Ephesians 6:17, that the Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. It will cut out everything displeasing to God if we will only let Him use it on us.

Too many people toss the Sword over their shoulder to someone else. The Word that God sends to reach something in their life s being passed on to their neighbors. The Word of Almighty God is more to be de­sired than anything in this world. When we get the Word in our heart, we can live by it.

God's Viewpoint

When our lives are put into God's test tube — tested by His Word — our attitudes, our characteristics, and our motives are analyzed and dis­covered. What are our attitudes? Is there a murmuring, a rebellion, a lack of submission in any way to the will of God?

One may say, "I am not murmuring. I am not rebellious. I am not holding out against God." Your definition of murmuring and rebelling and not submitting to the will of God may not be God's definition. Sometimes people become so wrapped up in their own ideas, their own way of think­ing, that they cannot see a thing from God's viewpoint. They become self- centered and supersensitive. They get their feelings ruffled, become of­fended, pout, whine, and cry. That is a good time for them to realize that some traits of carnality still exist. The "old man" carnality is still alive, squirming, and is likely to assert himself (Romans 6:2, 6). That is why a person needs the definite experience of sanctification, after being born again.

When the real work of sanctification takes place in a person's heart and life, he is not easily offended, not easily upset, not touchy. He is willing to swear to his own hurt when necessary, regardless of how he feels. He holds to his integrity, his humility, and his willingness to submit to God's testing, God's humbling process. He is in God's test tube and his true nature will be revealed.

Let God do His work in your heart. Let the Sword of the Spirit be run through you, turned around within you, if necessary, that you might be purged, purified, and brought into absolute subjection to the will and working of God. Let that be the will and purpose of your heart. Oh, what it means to be sanctified!

Love Demonstrated

The Spirit of God plants love in the heart — love for God first, and love for our neighbor second. People can readily see whether you are a Christian or not by the love you have for God and for your fellow men. Love demonstrates itself by tenderness, kindness, consideration for others. The love of Christ makes you truly love your fellow men.

There are some people who cannot love some of the children of God, yet they claim to be Christians. They may make a big profession for them­selves, yet they can see every flaw that exists in someone else. It is poor business to try to pick a mote out of another's eye when one has a beam in his own which he could work on so much more effectively.

God does not want us to compromise with sin; we know that. God wants us to lift up our voice like a trumpet against sin, but no one is quali­fied to do that if he has a beam in his own eye. And 99 times out of 100 the people who have so much to say about the faults of others have so many themselves that they are trying to produce a smoke screen to cover up their own deficiencies.

Debt of Love

"Owe no man any thing, but to love one another" (Romans 13:8). We owe every man love. "Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law" (Romans 13:10).

A law-abiding citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven is one who is bap­tized with the baptism of love, and who lives, moves, and has his being in God. God is love. If God is in us, and we are in God, we have love one for another. And one thing is sure and certain: if we measure our hearts and lives according to the Word of God, we are sure to make the Goal. If we try to get by with something less, we will fail.

"And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness" (Colossians 3:14).

Do you want to be perfect? Put on the love of Christ. Jesus said, "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another" (John 13:34). If you want to know the measure of that love, follow 'Christ to Calvary.

A High Standard

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord" (Colossians 3:16).

That is not criticism, faultfinding, murmuring, backbiting, talking about your neighbors.

"And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him" (Colossians 3:17).

The Gospel truth surely is a high standard. What do we want? A low standard? Unwholesome doctrine? Something impure? No! Let us ask God to help us adorn the doctrine of the Lord Jesus Christ.

When that innumerable company comes up, about which we read in Revelation, clothed in garments pure and white, their clothing will be found to be the "righteousness" of saints. They are people who have adorned the doctrine; they have put it on. They carry palms in their hands and the palms signify victory. They have victory because they have the righteousness of Christ in their life. They have won that victory by denying themselves, taking up their cross, and following Jesus. They are truly qualified for citizenship in the Heavenly Kingdom.


By Rev R. Crawford

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