Philippians 3:20

20 But 1our citizenship is in heaven, and 2from it we 3await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,

Philippians 3:20 Meaning and Commentary

Philippians 3:20

For our conversation is in heaven
The Ethiopic version renders it, "we have our city in heaven"; and the words may be truly rendered, "our citizenship is in heaven"; that is, the city whereof we are freemen is heaven, and we behave ourselves here below, as citizens of that city above: heaven is the saints' city; here they have no continuing city, but they seek one to come, which is permanent and durable; a city that has foundations, whose builder and maker is God, ( Hebrews 11:10 ) : as yet they are not in it, though fellow citizens of the saints, and of the household of God; they are pilgrims, strangers, and sojourners on earth, ( Leviticus 25:23 ) ( Hebrews 11:13 ) ; but are seeking a better country, an heavenly one, and God has prepared for them a city, ( Hebrews 11:16 ) ; they have a right unto it through the grace of God, and righteousness of Christ, and a meetness for it in him; and their conversation is here beforehand, while their commoration, or temporary residence, is below; their thoughts are often employed about it; their affections are set upon it, ( Colossians 3:2 ) ; their hearts are where their treasure is, ( Matthew 6:21 ) ; the desires of their souls are towards it, and they are seeking things above, and long to be in their own city, and Father's house, where Christ is; and to be at home with him, and for ever with him. This is the work and business of their lives now, and what their hearts are engaged in. The Syriac version renders it, "our work is in heaven"; the business, the exercise of our lives, and of our graces, tend that way:

from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ;
Christ is now in heaven, at the Father's right hand, ( Acts 2:33 ) , appearing in the presence of God for his people, and making intercession for them, ( Hebrews 7:25 ) ; and so will remain, until the time of the restitution of all things; when he will descend from heaven, and be revealed from thence: and this the saints look for, and expect; they have good reason for it; from his own words, from the words of the angels at the time of his ascension, ( Acts 1:11 ) , and from the writings of the apostles and they expect him not merely as a Judge, under which consideration he will be terrible to the ungodly, but as a Saviour; who as he has already saved their souls from sin, and the dreadful effects of it, from the bondage and curse of the law, from the captivity of Satan, and from eternal ruin and wrath to come, so he will save and redeem their bodies from the grave, corruption, mortality, and death, as follows.

Philippians 3:20 In-Context

18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ.
19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.
20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,
21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

Cross References 3

  • 1. See Ephesians 2:19
  • 2. Acts 1:11
  • 3. See 1 Corinthians 1:7
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.