What is naturalization? It is the legal act or process by which a non-citizen in a country may acquire citizenship or nationality of that country. There are numerous reasons why one would desire to be a citizen of a country other than one’s country of origin. They could range from seeking better opportunities to getting away from persecution, seeking asylum, or marrying someone from that country.
No matter the country, certain criteria have to be met to be granted citizenship. In addition to requirements for naturalization, there are responsibilities that come with citizenship. When I became a citizen of the United States, I was admonished to exercise my voting rights to affect changes that will help America continue to be the great country it has been.
Naturalization requirements can be very stringent, and requests are not always granted. Requests get turned down if criteria are not met. There is, however, one country where the requirement for citizenship is straightforward; there is no hassle, and no one is ever turned away, unless they try to come in through a back door other than the prescribed opened door. In fact, all are invited and encouraged to come, and are all welcomed. The requirements are the same for each person, regardless of their background. Politics and partiality play no part in this process. People of all nationalities, cultures, and languages; the educated, illiterate, sick, healthy, rich, poor, male female, adult, and child are all welcomed. As you can see, no one willing to come is turned away. That country is heaven, and the Maker, Founder, King, and Lord of that country is God Almighty.
Why are we invited to seek citizenship elsewhere? Because our current countries of origin are all temporary and full of evil, strife and woe, hatred, wars, and diseases; besides, they will all pass away sooner or later. Only the city built by God will last through eternity. This city is not an ordinary city built by human hands; it is built by God, and its streets are made of gold, like transparent glass, and its gates are made of pearls, and illuminated by the glory of God (see Revelation 21:22-23), and “He (God) will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever” (Revelation 21:4 NLT). The apostle Paul describes it this way: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9 NLT).
For a place this magnificent, one would expect the entry requirements to be very tough to meet, but they are rather very simple and straightforward: First and foremost, an applicant must be a sinner, seeking forgiveness of sins and freedom from the power of sin through the blood of Jesus Christ. Anyone who does not have the need to be forgiven does not qualify to apply. An applicant has to understand that he or she is a sinner and needs a Savior. Once a person is forgiven, he or she becomes a citizen of heaven, in training on earth.
The training continues until God decides it is time to go and enjoy citizenship to its fullest. Jesus comforted His disciples by saying to them, “There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am” (John 14:2-3 NLT). Nothing will disqualify anyone who has been granted citizenship, because the Bible tells us, “Now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death” (Romans 8:1-2 NLT).
While here on earth, our responsibility is to maintain fellowship with our Father through prayer, reading and studying the Word, and working at being more and more like Jesus every day, evidenced by the way we behave and interact with society. Also, while we are still here, we have the responsibility to encourage and build up others who are also on their way to the magnificent city, and to help those who are not to understand how urgently they need to naturalize. When we finally relocate to heaven, we will see our Father face to face (see 1 Corinthians 13:12); and we will be with Him forever (see 1 Thessalonians 4:17).