The Journey to Becoming a Citizen of Heaven

If you are born in a certain country, you receive that nation’s citizenship. The process is straightforward because it relies on the place of birth. However, the process is a little different when it comes to becoming a citizen of the kingdom of heaven. Being born in a country is not sufficient; instead, it requires a spiritual transformation and birth. To become citizens of the kingdom of God, we must undergo the process of being born again.

Born From Above

John 3:3 — Jesus replied, “I tell you the solemn truth, unless a person is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

The phrase “born-again Christian” has become quite commonplace in recent years. An important Greek term reveals a deeper meaning behind this well-known remark when it is examined in the context of a discussion that took place between Jesus and Nicodemus.

We are referring to the term “anothen,” which might be translated as “from above.” The phrase originates from Greek terms that mean “above” and a suffix that indicates the origin of movement from a certain region, which results in the term meaning “from above.”

There are certain circumstances in which the word “anothen” may alternatively be read as “again.” I’m curious about the significance of this phrase in the discussion that Jesus had with Nicodemus.

A Pharisee named Nicodemus, who was fascinated by Jesus, decided to have a private conversation with him one night to learn the truth about who Jesus was. He desired to comprehend the truths that the Master had imparted.

John 3:1-7 — Now a certain man, a Pharisee named Nicodemus, who was a member of the Jewish ruling council, came to Jesus at night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus replied, “I tell you the solemn truth, unless a person is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter his mother’s womb and be born a second time, can he?” Jesus answered, “I tell you the solemn truth, unless a person is born of water and spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must all be born from above.’

Old And New Nature

Throughout his writings, the apostle Paul references the shift that occurs on a spiritual level. He talks about the firsthand experience of being crucified, dying, being buried, and being raised with Christ.

In Romans chapter 6, Paul offers further insight into this process, emphasising the necessity of shedding our old, sinful nature to embrace a new life with Christ. This death is not just symbolic, but rather a real shift happening in our lives. According to our Lord Jesus, we cannot enter the kingdom of God until we are born again.

You can find more detailed explanations of this concept of being born again in the book of Ephesians. Paul instructs us to discard our previous sinful nature and embrace a new self that reflects God’s righteousness and holiness.

Ephesians 4:22-24 — You were taught with reference to your former way of life to lay aside the old man who is being corrupted in accordance with deceitful desires, to be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and to put on the new man who has been created in God’s image – in righteousness and holiness that comes from truth.

We need to make significant changes in both our thinking and our behaviours for this transformation to occur. We must let go of our old ways and adopt a new way of life that aligns with the principles and values of the kingdom of God.

However, we lack the necessary capabilities to handle this shift on our own. To achieve this change, we require the assistance of a higher power. Paul’s words in Galatians 2:20 express the idea that he has been crucified with Christ and no longer lives, but rather Christ lives within him.

Galatians 2:20 — I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So the life I now live in the body, I live because of the faithfulness of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

It suggests that God grants us a fresh start through the Holy Spirit, allowing us to overcome our inherent sinful nature. When we transform, it is not due to our abilities or hard work, but rather because of the strength of Christ that resides within us.

The Holy Spirit’s Role

In this development, the Holy Spirit plays a crucial role. The Holy Spirit guides us to recognise our faults and the importance of starting anew, even before we choose to make a change. Understanding this brings about the initial stage towards a new beginning. As our understanding of the limitations of our old way of life grows, we start to long for something better. Due to this strong belief, we humbly come to God and receive forgiveness from Him.

We express our readiness to change our previous approaches and acknowledge our mistakes through the prayers we offer. We trust in God’s ability to save us from our situation through the finished work of Jesus Christ. Jesus’ death on the cross was the utmost sacrifice for our sins, and His resurrection offers us the hope of a fresh start by being declared righteous. By accepting this gift, we experience a profound transformation on a spiritual level.

Being born again is something that marks the start of a lifelong journey. As we grow in our faith, we continue to transform, leaving behind our old selves and embracing our new selves. Living in a way that pleases God and consistently avoids sin requires a dedicated effort. Throughout this process, the Holy Spirit offers us guidance and empowers us to make the needed changes in our lives. He also helps us to complete this process.

Life Long Journey

To become a citizen of the kingdom of heaven, one must live in line with the principles and values that govern the kingdom of God. It contains the pursuit of justice and kindness, living in humility with God and man, pushing darkness back and loving others just as Jesus loved us. Placing our faith in God and relying on His strength, living by the faith of the Son of God, instead of our own is the essence of having confidence in Him.

There are occasions when this transition is not easy. It compels us to release deeply ingrained habits and thought patterns that have been instilled in us for a considerable period. It might be necessary to make difficult choices and let go of something significant. Despite the challenges, it is worth the effort. As citizens of the kingdom of heaven, we have the assurance of an eternity with God. When we have a strong relationship with God, we can experience the peace and joy that come with that association.

Transitioning from Adam: our previous, flawed, sinful state and experiencing a spiritual rebirth with Christ (last Adam) are both essential stages in this journey. We cannot accomplish this on our own; it is only possible through the Holy Spirit and the work of Jesus Christ. During this process of transformation, we let go of our previous self and embrace a new self that reflects the righteousness and holiness of God. This new life brings us the peace and joy of living in a harmonious connection with God and everlasting life in his kingdom.



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Godwin Shon Sequeira
Godwin Shon Sequeira
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