Summary: Believers in Christ have “1 Hope” for we await: 1) A New Home (Philippians 3:20) and 2) A New Body (Philippians 3:21)
Ottawa is probing reports that two Canadians were among the terrorists who were killed during the Algerian hostage crisis at a natural gas plant that authorities suspect was an inside job. Up to five of the al Qaeda-linked terrorists involved in the bloody hostage taking, which left at least 81 dead, were employees of the gas plant. (http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/01/21/ottawa-probing-reports-two-canadians-among-dead-hostage-takers-in-algeria-inside-job-siege-of-gas-plant/)
One of the reasons why we find these events so disturbing is to hear of the Canadian citizen participation. It just seems so out of place from what most think of Canadian ideals. It is not befitting someone who is a Canadian citizen.
We know that our real home and ultimate citizenship is not on the earth; it is in heaven. The Philippians would have understood the symbolism which Paul was using because, as we saw in the opening chapter, Philippi was a Roman colony. It was a long, long way from the ImperialCity. However, even though it was in Greek territory, it still belonged to Rome. Its citizens wore Roman dress. It was governed by Roman magistrates. Latin was spoken. Roman justice was administered. Roman morals were observed, and even the earth was considered to be Roman ground (Bentley, M. (1997). Shining in the Darkness: Philippians Simply Explained. Welwyn Commentary Series (142–143). Darlington, England: Evangelical Press.).
This is what they hoped in.
In what do you hope. Do you hope your job will go well, you’ll enjoy good health, your family will get along or is it in vacations or possession. If our hope is in anything that we can loose, then it is not a secure hope. The Apostle Paul in Philippians shows the path of eternal hope. As the accountant in Philippians 3:1–11, Paul discovered new values. As the athlete in Philippians 3:12–16, he displayed new vigor. Now as the alien, he experiences a new vision: “We look for the Saviour!” It is this anticipation of the coming of Christ that motivates the believer with the spiritual mind. There is tremendous energy in the present power of a future hope. (Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Php 3:15). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.).
We await: 1) A New Home (Philippians 3:20)
Philippians 3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, (ESV)
The underlying motivation for pursuing Christlikeness is the hope of the return of Jesus Christ. Since Christ is in heaven, those who love Him must be preoccupied with heaven, longing for Christ to return and take them to be with Him (1 Thess. 4:17). Paul puts their present situation—opposition in Philippi resulting in suffering—into divine perspective. All of this is said in a sentence that rises to extraordinary christological heights; not only is Christ the focus and center of everything, but his activities here are those ordinarily attributed to God the Father. The opening sentence of Phil. 3:20 serves as Paul’s immediate response to those “many” who “walk” contrary to the Pauline pattern, who are ultimately judged because “their minds are set on earthly things.” (Fee, G. D. (1995). Paul’s Letter to the Philippians. The New International Commentary on the New Testament (376). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm.B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.)
It is consistent for believers to have a heavenly focus, because our citizenship is in heaven. Politeuma (citizenship) appears only here in the New Testament, though Paul used the related verb in 1:27. It refers to the place where one has official status, the commonwealth where one’s name is recorded on the register of citizens. Though believers live in this world, they are citizens of heaven. They are members of Christ’s kingdom, which is not of this world (John 18:36). Their names are recorded in heaven (Luke 10:20; Phil. 4:3; Heb. 12:23; Rev. 13:8; 21:27); their Savior is there (Acts 1:11; 1 Thess. 4:16); their fellow saints are there (Heb. 12:23); their inheritance is there (1 Peter 1:4); their reward is there (Matt. 5:12); and their treasure is there (Matt. 6:20). What began the chapter as a summons and caution to “look out” (3:2) moves to the call “look at us” (3:17–21) and closes with both a warning (3:18–19) of teachers to be avoided (“look away” from such persons) and an eschatological aspiration (“look up” to the fulfillment of the Christian’s hope in 3:20–21) (Hawthorne, G. F. (2004). Vol. 43: Philippians. Word Biblical Commentary (235). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.).
Though they do not yet live in heaven, believers live in the heavenly realm (Eph. 2:6); they experience to some degree the heavenly life here on earth. They have the life of God within them, are under the rule of heaven’s King, and live for heaven’s cause. Believers belong to the “city … whose architect and builder is God” (Heb 11:10), the “Jerusalem that is above” (Gal 4:26), and are themselves “foreigners and strangers on earth” (Heb 11:13; 1 Peter 2:11) (Kent, H. A., Jr. (1981). Philippians. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor's Bible Commentary, Volume 11: Ephesians through Philemon (F. E. Gaebelein, Ed.) (147–148). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.).