What it means to live in the city of man as we anticipate the heavenly city.
The Apostle Paul tells us that our citizenship is in heaven. That makes us a “colony” in this world, where we are, as Hebrews says of the patriarchs, “strangers and aliens.” The biblical word that best describes the church in the present world is the “sojourner.” A sojourner is one who is resident, yet also an alien. He makes his home in a country where he is not really a citizen. The dual role of the believer is inevitable, it seems, when we are heavenly minded in the real world. All the challenges of negotiating our purpose and conduct here are derived from this dual loyalty. We are called ambassadors, which speaks of our mission. Yet we are to obey the king (or authority), pay taxes, and generally be good neighbors as well.
Knox Seminary as a Light
The Lord Jesus said we are to be salt and light. If Christ was the light of the world, then we who are Christ’s are likewise to live according to the light. These callings, to be salt and light, speak of our role as representatives of another city, a heavenly city, intending by our exemplary conduct to “adorn the gospel,” as Paul wrote to Titus.
St. Augustine told us that there are two cities which make their respective claims on us as Christians. The city of man is destined for judgment. The city of God is our eternal home. While here in the city of man it is our privilege to call forth those chosen to share life with us. Moses tells us there is good and evil. The prophets speak of judgment and mercy. The sages write about wisdom and folly. The evangelists tell us about the broad way and the narrow, the trees bearing good fruit and evil, and the apostles speak of flesh and spirit. In a world of such duality it only makes sense that there should be two cities. We are so to live, it would seem, that our manner of life would reflect the good, the merciful, the wise, and the spiritual—all the graces which become our calling. By our fruit, the Savior says, our lives are known. And by his grace we receive grace, and the opportunity to show the light of Christ that can enable others to become sojourners with us on our way to the heavenly city.