Devotions

Christians: The Scattered Strangers

Written by Rev (Dr) Prabhudas Koshy Sunday, 29 January 2017

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READ:

1 Peter 1:1

1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,

Psalms 119:19

19 I am a stranger in the earth: hide not thy commandments from me.

EXHORTATION:

T

he first verse of the epistle tells us to whom the epistle was addressed. Here Peter described the recipients' social and political circumstances. He referred to them as "the strangers scattered throughout" the various provinces of Asia Minor region, such as, "Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia" (1 Peter 1:1b). These areas were under the imperial reign of the Roman emperor.

The believers to whom the epistle was written were feeling like "strangers" in their land. It was not because all the believers were immigrants from other countries in their resident countries. But it is their faith in Jesus Christ that made them feel like strangers where they lived. Peter reminded the readers again later in the epistle that they were "strangers and pilgrims" (2:11).

It is not at all strange that Christians will be strangers in their own countries. Jesus said about the believers that "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world" (John 17:16). He also told His disciples that "If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you" (John 15:9). When He saved us, He was calling us out of all forms of worldliness. He then gave us new ambitions, new aspirations, and new principles to live by. Because of this transformation, the world would regard us as strange people.

This what Peter meant when he said in 1 Peter 4:4 that "Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you." When Christians do not join the sinful merry making of the world, they ventilate their hatred through evil speaking and other actions. Such responses from the world make believers really feel like absolute "strangers" in this world. So John reminds us, "Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you" (1 John 3:13).

This kind of world's treatment really makes us feel that our homeland is not in this world. Truly, we want to sing, "This world is not my home, but just a passing through." Apostle Paul explains this truth further when he wrote, ". . . our conversation (citizenship) is in heaven" (Philippians 3:20a). All genuine Christian must know that they are heaven-bound people, for their citizenship is in heaven. That's another reason that they are strangers on earth!

THOUGHT:

"By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country . . . For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God" (Hebrews 11:9-10).

PRAYER:

O Lord, though I am a stranger in this world, Thou art my faithful and nearest Friend as I walk here on earth.