The Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

1 Peter 2:11-12

Sojourners and Exiles

Peter has employed some wonderful descriptions, if not titles, to indicate who we are: a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and God’s own possession.  These titles refer to what He has made us in relation to Himself.  The Apostle now uses two more words that tell us who we are in relation to the world—and they’re not normally considered complimentary.  These two words are “sojourner” and “exile.”  “Sojourner” denotes someone who is not a permanent resident of the place he or she currently inhabits.  Such a condition usually assumes some disadvantages compared to the permanent residents of the land.  A synonym would be “alien.”  “Exile” carries an even more negative connotation.  A person is exiled from a nation if he has done something wrong or committed some heinous crime.  With exile comes a stigma that one is no longer wanted by his own people.

And these are the two words Peter now chooses to describe believers in Christ Jesus in relation to the world.  They are necessary descriptions derived from the matter that Christians have been set apart unto God; hence, they are de facto sojourners and exiles in relation to the world.  The good Bishop James tells us, “Friendship with the world is enmity with God” (James 4:4).  Thus, “sojourner” and “exile” are very beautiful terms which Christians may embrace wholeheartedly, for they refer back to the wonderful titles already mentioned—chosen race, royal priesthood, holy nation, and God’s own possession.  There is no other way a Christian may define himself in relation with the world but as one passing through, who has here no permanent home—and doesn’t want one.

The work for us is to live our lives with such a mentality willingly; that is, to embrace our status as exiles and sojourners.  Should we care so much for possessions in this world?  Are we people who care so much about worldly status when our status has already been declared by God?  Should we fear death and dying when such is for us only a return to our true home?  And as we are preparing to go home one day, should we not concern ourselves with heavenly matters such as putting to death those sinful desires that drag us down and make war with our souls and the task of purifying them?  Should we not conduct ourselves in such a way that even if we are slandered in this world we shall be vindicated in the next such that even pagans will have to admit their wrong and exclaim that in truth God is right?  There is a lot of talk about “identity” nowadays.  The Christian’s identity in this world is exile, sojourner, one-passing-through.  Embrace it and look to heaven.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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