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my prayer, O Lord, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy
peace at my tears: for I am a stranger with thee, and a
sojourner, as all my fathers were. "
world your home?
"But how are the professed people of God today maintaining the honor of His name? How could the world infer that they are a peculiar people? What evidence do they give of citizenship in heaven? We are pilgrims and strangers who are waiting, hoping, and praying for that blessed hope, the glorious appearing of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. If we believe this and bring it into our practical life, what vigorous action would this faith and hope inspire; what fervent love one for another; what careful holy living for the glory of God." E.G. White
"Correction does much, but encouragement does more"
Here's a Bible study that we've put together for you: May the Lord guide you in His Word today!
Pilgrims and Strangers
(This study has valuable lessons for both mature Christians and new believers!)
What did Peter call Christians?
1 Peter 1:1
Peter addressed his letter to "the strangers scattered throughout" these various lands. When you hear the word "stranger", it can bring you back to your childhood, when all the grownups told you that you should never talk to a stranger, or worse yet, get into the car with one. Of course, this is wise counsel; those warnings were given for a good reason. But here in this verse, the apostle refers to Christians as strangers, which means that Peter is obviously using this term in a different sense than what we may have grown up with!
Here the word simply means "someone who is different from those around them" and "someone that is traveling through a land that is not their home".
Why are Christians supposed to be different from everyone else?
1 Peter 1:2
As we read on in 1 Peter, we begin to find some answers! Peter is writing to the "elect", telling us that Christians are supposed to be different because they have been elected by God. This doesn't mean that we've been elected to office, but it means that the Lord has chosen us to be His special people, just like Israel of the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 7:6, Galatians 3:26-29). He has called Christians to a higher level and has lifted us up from the darkness and sin of this world (John 12:46).
That brings us to the next part of this verse: "through sanctification of the Spirit". God has selected us as His people and now He has brought us into this process called sanctification, which simply means "to set apart for a holy purpose". In other words, we partake in God's holiness, as Jesus abides in our hearts (1 John 2:28-29). Peter tells us that it's "the blood of Christ" that enables us to live in a holy manner, "unto obedience" to God (See also Hebrews 13:20-21).
What does the Bible say about Christians being holy?
1 Peter 1:15-16 Hebrews 12:14 Romans 6:11-13 2 Corinthians 7:1
God is calling us to be holy people, to live like Jesus lived, and this is what sets Christians apart from the rest of the world.
A chameleon is one of the most interesting creatures in the animal kingdom. This lizard has the ability to to change his skin color so that he can match the environment around him. But the last thing we want to be is a chameleon Christian, blending in with the crowd, taking part in all their social activities, and talking like everyone else. According to the Bible we are not supposed to be, act, or speak like all the other people in this world.
How does God feel about Christians "blending in" with the world?
John 17:14-19 2 Corinthians 6:16-18 James 4:4
Jesus said, "they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." Just like Christ, we're not here to live in selfish pleasure (Ephesians 4:21-24), but to minister for others and help them come to know the Savior (John 17:18) as we demonstrate His love in our everyday lives (John 13:34-35).
How does Hebrews
chapter 11 describe the great heroes of faith?
The well-known characters of the Bible mentioned in this chapter are called "strangers and pilgrims". When they were alive, they lived like they were only journeying through this earth (Psalm 39:12) as they were traveling down the path to their eternal home in heaven (Proverbs 4:18) . It reminds me of these lyrics:
"I've got to remember, I'm
not here to stay,
It's so easy to forget why we're here and what the true meaning of life is. May God help us to remember that we are only pilgrims passing through a strange land and may we earnestly "desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called there God: for He hath prepared for them a city." For more on this great city that God has prepared (John 14:1-3), read the last two chapters of the Bible: Revelation 21-22.
What else does
Peter say about this subject?
Peter reminds his readers that we are a "chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people". This is quite a high calling and we can only be successful as God strengthens and enables us (Philippians 2:13, John 15:5).
As Peter points out, we must always remember that God has brought us "out of darkness into his marvelous light;" Now we need to keep climbing higher into this light as "strangers and pilgrims", living in a way that shows "forth the praises" of the Lord.
Then Peter urges us to "abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;" these are the things that draw us back into the ways of the world instead of closer to God. Let's not become entangled again with the sins of our past (1 Peter 1:14), nor with the wickedness of the present world (Galatians 1:3-4 and 2 Timothy 2:3-4), but let's press on towards the way that leads to everlasting life! (Matthew 7:13-14) "For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Philippians 3:20).
"They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces
thitherward, saying, Come, and let us join ourselves to the Lord
in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten."
For more on "pilgrims and strangers", study the lives of the characters of the Bible, such as Abraham (Genesis 23:4, Hebrews 11:8-10) and David (1 Chronicles 29:15).
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