PILGRIMS AND STRANGERS

Peter tells us, that as believers, we are “pilgrims and strangers” on this earth. The word “stranger” has the idea of a person who lives for an extended time in a land that is not his own. He is there long enough to need a house to live in, but he is not a permanent resident. He has no legal rights, he has no social standing. He is a stranger, an exile who lives in a foreign land. The word “pilgrim” has a meaning that is more temporary than the other. This word refers to one who is merely passing through one place on the way to another place.

Both of those words describe who we are as children of the Lord. We are living in this world, but this world is not our home, Phil. 3:20. We are here, God willing, long enough to need a house to live in, and a job to feed us. But, we are not permanent residents. We are merely strangers living in the midst of an alien culture. We are pilgrims passing through the earth on our way to Heaven.

If you have ever had the opportunity to meet someone from another culture, you have recognize the fact that they think and act differently than you do. Well, as believers, we are supposed to think and act differently than the natives of this planet. Our new birth and our new nature are all products of heaven. As a result, we are to be heavenly minded. Our legal status is in heaven. We are not to live by man’s laws and man’s ways! Man’s laws and ways are lower than the standards heavenly citizens are to live by. We should obey the laws of the land, but the law and will of God are far superior to that of this world. In other words, if we are truly heaven-born people, then we are to live like heaven-born people! This is what Paul had in mind in Col. 3:1-3. (If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.)

Until Jesus comes, we will be “pilgrims and strangers” in this world. Let us remember that we are surrounded by an alien culture that needs to hear about Jesus and that needs to see His truth lives out by those who claim to know Him. They used to encourage visitors to the national parks to “leave them cleaner than they found them.” We should seek to promote the culture of Heaven in this world to leave it better than we found it!

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