1 Peter 2:11-25; Luke 24:13-53
We’re Only Visiting This Planet
That’s what we are – sojourners and exiles. We could also use the words, pilgrims, strangers, and aliens. Peter addressed this letter at the beginning to the “elect exiles of the dispersion,” referring to our chosen-ness (elect), our belonging to another world (exiles), and our being scattered over this world (dispersion). The obvious message is that we do not belong to this world; that we are in it, but not of it.
This is truly a radical way of thinking of ourselves, and if we were to adopt this mindset, I think it would make radical changes in the way we live. This is not our home; we are just passing through. All that we have is temporary. Even the sacred relationship of husband and wife is broken by death, for we will not be married there (Mark 12:25). Of course, the good news of Jesus Christ is that the reason we are aliens here is because our real citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20). We are not looking to an earthly city, for we desire a heavenly one (Hebrews 11:10-16), whose Maker and Builder is God.
And if this be the way with us, if we indeed be aliens as we walk upon this earth, then how shall we live while we are here? Peter again shows us the way. In relation to ourselves, we must “abstain from the passions of the flesh which make war against your soul.” We must bring these minds and bodies of ours under the dominion of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5), for he is our Lord and Master. If people condemn us, let them do so falsely, and let our lives condemn their lies. As for rulers and governors, we must obey until their words compromise our faith in Christ (Acts 4:19-20; 5:29). In this way, we show that being citizens of heaven makes us model citizens on earth. As slaves should submit to masters, so employees should submit to employers, for the Christian is not first and foremost obsessed with his rights but about being a witness for Christ. If he must suffer for being a Christian, so be it. If he is reviled and beaten for being a Christian, this is all the more reason to rejoice since such suffering places him in the company of his Master who “suffered for you, leaving you an example so that you might follow in his steps.”
We can’t do this on our own, but only through the power of the Holy Spirit. But it begins with the acknowledgement that nothing that we have here ultimately means anything compared with Christ. We’re just passing through, and this world is passing away (1 Corinthians 7:31; 1 John 2:17). Then we can endure all things for him who endured all things for us.