"And the chief captain answered, With a great sum obtained I this freedom. And Paul said, But I was free born" (Acts 22:28).
The privilege of being a freeborn Roman citizen was indeed a life-saving circumstance to Paul in his defense before the Jewish mob trying to kill him there in Jerusalem (Acts 22:30) when he returned from his third missionary journey. He had used his citizenship status at least once before to get out of prison in Philippi (Acts 16:37-40). His Roman citizenship was indeed a great asset at that time.
But that was only a type of the wonderful position we have as citizens of heaven. When Paul later wrote to the Christians at Philippi, and reminded them that "our conversation is in heaven," the word he used actually was politeumus, literally meaning "citizenship."
And that status is one of true freedom from the power of sin in our lives as well as the fear of death and judgment when we meet God. "But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life" (Romans 6:22).
In this country, we celebrate this annual holiday as Independence Day, remembering our Declaration of Independence from Great Britain and a despotic king. We especially thank God for freedom of religion--our freedom to believe and teach all the great truths of the Bible, a liberty which we must cherish and guard, for it is under constant attack by unbelievers. But we must also remember to "use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh" (Galatians 5:13). Liberty is not license.
As citizens of heaven, "we are ambassadors for Christ" here on Earth (II Corinthians 5:20), with our fundamental duty that of urging men to "in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." HMM