By Pastor Mark Hopper
Everyone who travels outside their own country is required to carry a passport. We are now required to have a passport to even visit Mexico and Canada.
A passport reveals a lot about a person. A passport identifies you as a citizen of a specific country. My passport clearly states that I am a citizen of the United States of America. I am thankful to carry a US passport.
In addition, a passport tells a lot about you. It includes the date and location of your birth. It includes your photograph so that you can quickly and easily be identified with the information in it. It tells when your passport was issued to you and the date it will expire.
Your passport also contains a record of the places you have been. When you enter a foreign country, they usually stamp your passport to record the date you entered and the date you departed. It indicates if you arrived by plane, train or by automobile. It is fun to thumb through the pages in your passport and remember the adventures you have shared and the places you have been in the past.
Sometimes airlines will put a sticker on the outside of your passport. This indicates that you have been interviewed or screened for security purposes before they allow you to board their airplane.
Today, many countries are relying more on electronic screening. They can scan or swipe your passport and immediately know a lot about you. You may find this comforting or you may feel concerned that there is so much information about you in their records.
I don’t know if they had passports in ancient times, but I do know that citizenship was a big deal even in Bible times.
The Apostle Paul invoked his rights as a Roman citizen on several occasions (Acts chapters 16 and 22). Citizens of Rome had additional rights and protections that were not granted to non-citizens.
In one of his letters, Paul says “Our citizenship is in heaven…” (Philippians 3:20). Paul was both proud and thankful to be a citizen of Rome, but he was even more thankful to be a citizen of heaven through his faith in Jesus Christ.
If you have a passport, let me encourage you to dust it off and look through the pages. It will be a helpful reminder of the places you have been to. And, if you are not sure about your citizenship in heaven, let me encourage you to dust off your Bible and read some of the things that the Apostle Paul wrote his letters to the Romans and Ephesians about how you become one.
Pastor Mark Hopper is from the Evangelical Free Church of Diamond Bar, 3255 South Diamond Bar Ave. Sunday services are 9 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. For more information, call (909) 594-7604 or visit http://www.efreedb.org.