Travel Documents

Written on: September 1, 2023

Article by: Kevin Cleary

I will shortly be traveling for a time in the US. In order to do this it is important to be able

to identify myself to the border guard. I could arrive at the border thinking I know who I am and surely when the border guard sees me he will know it too. Yep that’s Kevin Cleary, definitely a Canadian Citizen. As convenient as it would be if this were the case, the reality is that the guard will want proof. He will want the right “documentation”. For this purpose, I have a passport. Issued by the Canadian government, it has my picture and identifies me, proving that I’m Canadian. And based on that, I should have no problem crossing the border and continuing my trip.

Christians have another aspect to our identity, and it is that we are God’s people. Thus, in the same way that a passport or birth certificate certifies our physical identity we need something that documents who we are spiritually. Is there such a thing? Can we know that we belong to God and that God identifies us as his own?

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The answer is yes! Unlike the passport that I have to carry with me, our documentation comes from God and is with us all the time.

In Ephesians 1:13 Paul says God has been given the Holy Spirit to us as a seal. This is not the kind of seal that keeps our food fresh. It is an identifying marker indicating ownership. 2nd Timothy 2:19 assures us that God knows those who are his and it is comforting for the saved to know that our documentation before God has come from above.

So God knows that we are His – but can we know it as well? Has God provided a way for us to know that we are saved? What documents might we consult to reach the same conclusion?

When I approach the border, I invariably find myself touching my pocket or getting my passport out to assure myself that I have everything in order. I say it’s because of the sign telling me to have my documents ready, but even if there were no sign, I would still have my passport in hand and open to the right page – ready to hand it out the window.

As citizens of heaven, wouldn’t it be reassuring to have similar documentation for our trip into eternity? (Phil 3:20). The answer of course is yes, and yes again. God has not left us to wonder about our standing before him or what will happen when we leave this life behind. He has told us what we need to do to have everything in order and to keep it that way.

The word of God supplies this information in its most up to date form in the New Testament. Passages like 1st Corinthians 2:6-16; John 16:12-14; II Peter 1:21; II Timothy 3:15-17” assure us that God has spoken and that divine inspiration conveys divine authority to the message that has been preserved. God’s word assures us that once ‘in Christ’, our sins are forgiven. We have been washed, sanctified and justified – to put us right with God (1st Cor 6:11) And having been joined spiritually to Jesus, we are indwelt by God’s Holy Spirit (Rom 8:31-39).

This is our documentation. No wonder that so many who are approaching death do it with Bible in hand. Like me at the border – they want to know that everything is in order.

Knowing then how to know that we are right with God, let’s obey God so that bibles in our hands have also transformed our hearts. For they reveal the Lord Jesus who is responsible for our salvation and is the true object of our love.

(Anyone who wants to know specifically what the Bible says about how to be saved see: Rom 1:16; 10:9-10; Acts 3:19; Acts 2:38; Rom 6:1-4; Gal 3:27)

Barrie ON