The ancient city of Philippi was founded by Roman vets. They were very proud of their citizenship. Rome’s slogan was “Peace and Safety.” Rome kept the peace by military force. Philippi’s citizens were proud they were peacemakers. Jesus reminded his disciples that he doesn’t bring peace the way the world (Rome) did: “My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives” (Jn. 14:27). Paul added to the folks in Macedonia: “While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety,’ destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape” (1 Thess. 5:3). Rome killed its enemies. Jesus died for his (Rom. 5:8).
Because the folks in Philippi were so proud of their citizenship, Paul added a stern reminder, “But our citizenship is in heaven” (Phil. 3:20). Sometimes Christians need to be reminded where their loyalties should lie.