What does it mean when God says you are a citizen of heaven?


  • Author James Rondinone
  • Published December 28, 2023
  • Word count 1,391


You Are a Citizen of Heaven

Have you ever visited a specific country and wanted to become a citizen? In 2012, I volunteered with over six hundred people worldwide to participate in a building project sponsored by Habitat for Humanity. The goal was to build slightly more than one hundred small single-family homes in Leogane, Haiti.

I’d never traveled internationally before, let alone to Haiti. I had no idea what to expect. After attending a “get to know” dinner in Atlanta, Ga., the following day, all of us flew to Port au Prince airport. From there, we took a bus to the sight where we’d be lodging. I was expecting to stay at a grand hotel. However, when we arrived, I noticed hundreds of small tents set up. The only other time I stayed in a tent was when I was a boy scout. Each one of them would hold up to three or four people and was furnished with state-of-the-art sleeping arrangements, i.e., individual cots.

Breakfast would be served every morning at 6:00 a.m. From there, many buses would transport all of us to the building site. When we got there, I noticed over one hundred concrete slabs whose dimensions reflected the size (between one hundred to one hundred forty-four square feet) of each small house that was to be built. Most of the materials needed to construct the four exterior walls and roof were on site. In most cases, groups of ten-twelve people were assigned to complete the building of four houses, with one of the workers being designated as the supervisor. A young Irishman, who owned a business in Dublin, Ireland, was assigned to us.

The days were long, anywhere from ten-twelve hours in the intense heat of 95º F with extreme humidity. I found the need to drink water frequently as I’d usually go through at least ten bottles of water daily. As the days went on, it dawned on me that I hadn’t gone to the bathroom. I thought there was something wrong with me. So, I called my wife and told her about this. And she said that I was probably sweating it out.

When it came time to return to where we stayed, we boarded the buses and looked forward to taking a shower. Two separate shower complexes with individual stalls for males and females had been previously built to accommodate about twenty of us at one time. Well, you can imagine, if you didn’t run to your tent and gather your change of clothes quickly, you’d be in line for quite a while.

Little did I know that the shower water wasn’t cool but ice cold. And there was no hot water option nearby. I soon became aware of something else that, caught my upmost attention, i.e., at times, there would be giant tarantulas waiting for you when you entered the shower enclosure. After cleaning up and putting on clean clothes, a buffet was waiting for us in the nearby food hall. Irish men and women did most of the cooking and serving. The food was quite good.

After dinner, there would be some kind of entertainment venue for us to enjoy. On one occasion, locals set up tables with homemade craft items for sale. Another night consisted of watching slides containing pictures of the various houses being built along with the volunteers involved with building them. And then there was the music night when those with a talent for singing and playing musical instruments performed before us all with two unexpected, surprising guests showing up, i.e., country singer songwriter Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood.

When the trip ended, I was looking forward to getting back home to the country where I was born as a citizen of the USA. As we traveled throughout Haiti, I noticed the immense amount of poverty everywhere. Many people lived in wooden shacks with dirt floors and no running water. Bathrooms were almost non-existent in certain areas of the country. Many people bathed or went to the bathroom in man-made ravines whose water source came from the nearby mountains.

While some cars were on the roads, most people either walked or rode mopeds. As for work, most of the population sold various items along the main streets of the towns or cities that we passed through. At the trip’s close, each of us was asked if we wanted to donate any of our clothes or carpentry tools that we’d brought, which would be given to the new homeowners of the development. Most of us gave away just about all that we brought with us.

This brings me to this question. Would I want to live there? My honest answer is absolutely not. I’m so thankful that I’m a US citizen. Sometimes, we don’t really know what we have until we go to another country and find out what they don’t have.

So, what about you? Are you satisfied with your citizenship, wherever that might be? Do you wish there was a better place waiting for you where you could become a citizen of that country instead? Well, if you’re a follower of Christ, there is. The book of Ephesians will tell us more about this.

Ephesians 2:19

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

The Gentile Ephesians believers are no more strangers (of one who comes from another country or city and settles in another, but does not rank as a citizen)161 and foreigners (guests in a private family, as opposed to the members of the family) but fellowcitizens (citizens of heaven) with the saints (Christianized Jews), and of the household (having all equal rights, privileges, and advantages; as all, through one Spirit162)of God.

The verb are in Koine Greek is in the form of a present active indicative. What this tells us is that all of those Gentiles who believed in Jesus are without interruption an inhabitant of heaven and of the same spiritual lineage with their fellow Jewish Christians.

In this world, depending on what country we live in, there will always be degrees of discontentment with the political system, human rights violations, the results of high-profile criminal trials, the lack of affordable housing, racial discrimination, unaffordable health care, limited employment opportunities, etc. However, Scripture tells us that there’s a place called heaven where these conditions don’t exist. Here’s some of what we’re told awaits us when we arrive there.

Revelations 21:4b…and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

Right off the bat, we’re reminded that there will be no more death. No one will ever die there. We’ll live in a heavenly realm with those who’ve responded to the gospel. I hope with all my heart this includes my kids, relatives, friends and frankly the whole world. We’re also told that there will no longer be any sorrow or crying. These are interesting words. The word sorrow means that there won’t be any keen (intense) mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss.163 And the word crying means that there will be no outbursts of grief. In other words, whatever would cause mental suffering or outbursts of heartache, such as loss of property or loved ones, persecution, regrets, etc., won’t exist.

And finally, we’re instructed that there will be no more pain. The word pain refers to the experience of pain, normally involving both continuity and intensity.164 No one there will ever get sick physically or will experience bodily injuries. From this, we can deduce that there will no longer be any wars, extreme weather, pandemics, incurable diseases, physical handicaps, societal violence, etc.

You, like me, and all those who have put their trust in Christ have a literal place waiting for us to inhabit that is without comprehension. As for now, you can proclaim that you’re a resident of heaven with countless Christians along with being spiritually related to them. Amen.


161Wuest’s Word Studies.

162Adam Clarke’s Commentary.


164Greek-English Lexicon Pc Study Bible version 5, 2005. BIBLESOFT. WEB. 27 November 2022


My name is James Rondinone. I am a husband, father, and spiritual leader.

I grew up in Massachusetts and began my own spiritual journey early on in life.

I attended Bible college, having completed a two-year Christian Leadership Course of Study and graduated as valedictorian (Summa Cum Laude).

Studying and teaching the Word of God has been a passion of mine for over 20 years.

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