Reading: “A citizen of no mean city.”—Acts 21:39
It certainly was very laudable in Paul, in a moment of danger, to avail himself of the common privileges of his freedom, in the common rights of men. But it would have been a sad thing for the apostle, had he not, at the same time, been also “a fellow citizen with the saints, and of the household of God.” He, like the patriarchs, knew his right in that city “which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”
Now a city that has “foundations, whose builder and maker is God,” differs totally from all the cities founded among men. All these have their rise, their increase, and fall. Where are the monarchies of past generations? But the citizenship of a believer is firm, eternal, and secure. God the Father is the founder of it—He has laid the foundation stone in Zion. God the Son is the Rock on which it is built. And God the Holy Ghost is the eternal source of life and strength, and all the immutable privileges of it.
This city is everlastingly and eternally secure, and the peace and happiness of its inhabitants must ever remain the same for the citizens are of one body, and one spirit, even as they are called, in one hope of their calling. If you are a citizen of this city, Jesus, the King of Zion, has sealed it with his blood.
You will also know the blessedness of the place, and the immense privileges of its inhabitants. In the freedom of this city is found peace with God, through the blood of the cross; and access at all times, through him, by one Spirit, unto the Father. And as among other citizens there are certain marks and characters, by which the privileges of one city are distinguished from another; so in this, the language, the dress, the manners, and customs, are wholly foreign to all the rest of the world. A citizen of God’s house talks the language of God; he is dressed in the garment of salvation, and the robes of Jesus’ righteousness. His manners and customs are altogether peculiar to a child of God and an heir of heaven; for all is in conformity to the gospel of Christ.