As the summer season gets under way, many hopeful travellers will be seeking guaranteed sunshine and new experiences somewhere beyond our homeland shores. They will be checking travel documents and passports to ensure that all is in good order, so that delays and confusion at national borders can be avoided. It would be foolish indeed to wait till we arrive at the border crossing before assuring ourselves that the vital passport is still in date and fit for purpose.

We live in an age of digital security, using an array of passwords and numbers that hold the power to grant or to refuse our admittance to useful information, or to gain entrance to premises that we need to visit. So, with the necessary authorisation, we may have confidence that a smooth passage will be afforded.

Yet, how many of us have this same assurance that when the time comes to cross over from earth to eternity, our passport is secure and valid?

This unique and totally personal passport is neither earned nor purchased. It is given by God upon an earnest statement of faith. It does not expire, but is held in trust for us in the security of divine guarantee. The Apostle John recorded the words of Jesus when he stated, “I tell you the truth; whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. (John 5 v 24) We note the reversal of the natural order that opens the heavenly realms to a life full of purpose, complete, and free from pain, sorrow and fear. We have been registered as citizens of Heaven.

As with our earthly passport, we have to make a genuine request for possession, intending to take care of it, and accepting the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. We cannot lend it out or forge identity. We become representatives of the land named on the document and carry the privilege of doing so. In similar fashion, the Apostle Paul reminded the Ephesian church about good conduct.

Having been brought into one new family of believers, there should be unity amongst them, for, “you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household.” (Ephesians 5 v 19)

So, what can we know of this beloved place to which we have been granted the right of access?

“There is a land where shadows never deepen
And sunset glories fade not into night
Where weary hearts shall win the boon of endless blessing
And faith is lost in sight.
A land where sad farewells are never spoken
Where every loss of life is richest gain
Where stumbling feet at last shall find a haven
And hearts have no more pain.

The second verse of I Vow to Thee, My Country gives a further testimony (C. S. Rice 1859-1918)

“And there’s another country I heard of long ago
Most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know.”
It ends with a beautiful description,
“And her wings are ways of gentleness
and all her paths are peace.”

Surely this passport is of infinite value, purchased for us through the death and resurrection of our Redeemer. So, wherever summer adventures may take us, let us be in secure possession of both our earthly and our heavenly passports.

Happy days!

Iris Niven

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