I was born in Canada, straight north of Granbury about 1300 miles. Though I spent most of my childhood years in the Unites States, and primarily Texas, I remained a Canadian citizen until 2003, when I became a naturalized American. My citizenship changed. I had always considered the United States and Texas my home, but on the day that I took that oath, they really did become my home. And I was able to live as if this was my home. I no longer had to validate my right to live here. I no longer had to carry my green card with me at all times. I was able to partake in the political process and serve on juries and vote. I was (and am) a citizen. Winnipeg was my old home. Canada was my old residence. Texas was and is my new home.
It’s good to remember our roots — where we were from and what our life used to be like. And it is also good to remember our present reality — where our residence now is, what our responsibilities are and what our future will be
That is certainly true spiritually as well. We do well to remember what our past life was without Christ and what our future life will be with Christ. In writing to a persecuted church, and a people that had been scattered throughout Asia Minor for their faith, Peter does that very thing. Because of their suffering, they might be tempted to think that something unusual had happened (4:12) or that God’s plan had failed (4:19). So several times in 1 Peter, the apostle reminds his readers of their current position on earth:
- They are aliens in their own homes (1:1)
- Their time on earth is a brief stay (1:17)
- They are strangers and aliens on this earth (2:11)
And these reminders by Peter are consistent with other NT writers:
- For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself (Phil. 3:20-21).
- So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household (Eph. 2:19).
- We are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him (2 Cor. 5:8-9).
- All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth (Heb. 11:13).
- James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings (James 1:1).
All these verses are reminders to us that our place on earth is not our real home and not our final destination. It’s not where our real citizenship is. Yet, at times, the way we react to issues in our culture (and I also am guilty of this) reflects an attitude that suggests we aren’t hoping in Heaven. We are so bound up by issues here that we forget that Christ will vanquish all sin, God will punish all sin justly (Rom. 12:19), and the righteousness of Heaven will prevail and it is our goal (meaning we don’t have to fret when we see evil temporarily seem to prevail, e.g., Ps. 37:7-11).
You know the saying, “He’s so heavenly minded he’s no earthly good.” I am afraid of hearing from the Lord the opposite: “You were so earthly minded you were no heavenly good.” At times, our preoccupation with fixing the here and now indicates we have no confidence in the work of God to finish our salvation.
So how should we think about our position on earth and our involvement in activities on this earth (and this coming election)? We do well to follow the counsel of Peter who reminded his readers of Christ’s ability to finish their salvation and bring them home:
- Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (1 Peter 1:3-5; read also vv. 6-9).
- Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:13; see also v. 23)
- Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation. (1 Peter 2:12; and see Christ’s example in vv. 21-25)
- But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence (1 Peter 3:14-15).
- But to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. (1 Peter 4:13-14).
- Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right (1 Peter 4:19).
- And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory (1 Peter 5:4).
- After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you (1 Peter 5:10)
Remember that your home and salvation are secure; and this earth is not our home. For all that we are commanded to do to evangelize the lost and do good for all men, this is not our final destination and we are not act as if all is lost if the “culture wars” are lost. The majority of the culture wars will be lost, but the final war against sin and death has been won and will be won. We need not fret when evil seems to prevail (read Psalm 37 again). Our salvation and our home are provided and kept by God; whatever happens on this earth, when tempted to be fearful, we must remember our final end.