St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church

The Best Country

Podcast Version

Hebrews 11:13-16—All these people [Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob] were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

The Fourth of July will soon be upon us. For so many reasons, this Fourth of July will be different from any we’ve experienced in our lives because of a virus and the current societal dialogue. Opinions are all over the place about our county. Some say it is still the best. Others say it was the best. Still others say it is the worst. Opinions are just that, opinions.

Today and this weekend, let’s chiefly focus our attention and hearts on these two facts: 1) this nation only exists because God allowed it to come into existence and allows it to exist today (Rom. 13:1); and 2) the best country is the one that waits for us in heaven.

It is good for us to give thanks to God for the immense blessings we have received in this land we call the United States of America. We have been blessed unlike any other nation before us. But this land is flawed, we know this full well. It is flawed because its citizenry is made up entirely of sinners. One sinner on their own can do all kinds of sinning. Put two or more together, they will pile it on all the more.

No matter what view you take on America, each one of you sees good, but you also see a lot of pain, suffering, sorrow, violence, loss, and death. But every nation has seen this. We are not unique because every nation has had a citizenry made up entirely of sinners. Even people who have no country of their own feel the same way. Just look at Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, and Jacob!

Yes, they lived and made their home in the foreign land of Canaan, but it wasn’t just the Canaanites who didn’t make them feel welcome—it was the whole world! The writer to the Hebrews tells us that
they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. This whole world was foreign to them!!! Why? Because they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one.

What the best country in the world is, is a debate about opinion. The thing we know as believers is that the best country waits for us in heaven. The place where God
has prepared a city for [us]! A country where there is no more death or mourning or crying or pain (Rev. 21:4) because that has to do with the old and dying way of things. And we wait for that country just like Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob and every other believer waited who have gone before us. We all together sojourn here as we make our way home to heaven—the best country.

This Fourth of July weekend, remember this beautiful truth. Remember that the best country waits for you in heaven, and you do not have to doubt that it is yours because
God is not ashamed to be called [your] God. That is why he gave his Son for you! Your citizenship is secure. The fees are paid. The documents are all in order. The travel date has been set. All that’s left for you is to wait for your day of travel, whenever that may be. Wait, living by faith as a stranger here because heaven—the best country—is your home!