Foreigners and Sojourners
It is easy for us to look around and see people that are different from us and say that they are foreigners. They don't look like us. They don't sound like us. They have different opinions than we do on many issues. We don't have to go across oceans to find this circumstance. If I go from central Alabama on a trip to south Florida, I will still be in the United States but in a foreign place where most other people speak a language I do not. If I went from central Alabama to New York City I may have a problem understanding many people that speak in a completely different dialect of English compared to my southern English. In either case, I would be the foreigner. Sometimes it nice to take a trip like that to see new places, different ways of life, and meet new people. It can also be a good experience for the young folks to help them understand the concept of being a foreigner in, what to them is a strange place. Learning the concept of strange places is necessary for a Christian, especially babes in Christ, to help understand the temporary nature of this life. This life and the contents thereof is explained as temporary by the Lord. He demands that we live with such a mind and be centered on the things that do not pass away such as the elements of this physical life.
With reproofs You chasten a man for iniquity; You consume as a moth what is precious to him; Surely every man is a mere breath.
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;
We count our home as heaven because that is Christ's home and we are of Christ. Many often state, "home is where the heart is". It is similar to the truthful statement by the Lord, "for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:21). For the world that does not look to heaven as home this place of existence is all the home they expect. Their treasure is here. The children of God count heaven as home because that is where their treasure is, which is Christ and the Father. If our heart is centered on the things of this world and our mind is centered on the worries and cares of this world, then we will not follow the Lord as He commands.
'THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME.
And He said to him, " 'YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.'
Based on these scriptures, our actions should demonstrate a keeping of the law of Christ because we love Him and our heart is centered on Him. Since God is spirit and anyone that wants to worship Him must do so in spirit and truth (John 4:23), our heart is centered on a spiritual home and spiritual treasure.
Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
Therefore this temporary physical life is not our home but a foreign place for us who are true worshippers of God.
Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear to my cry; Do not be silent at my tears; For I am a stranger with You, A sojourner like all my fathers.
Peter gives seven titles, with some redundancy, that state the people that are recognized by God as His own are peculiar from the world.
1. chosen race
2. royal priesthood
3. holy nation
4. God's own possession
5. The people of God
It is easy to see that Peter is contrasting circumstances of the children of Abraham, the Israelites, with the facts of life in being a Christian. Their situation as a peculiar people is a type for us as Christians. Paul, preaching to Gentiles, explained to them that based on their answer to the gospel of Christ they are no longer aliens.
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.
Paul clearly distinguishes that those that are obedient to the plan of salvation, as demonstrated in the book of Acts, are those that are counted as citizens of the kingdom of heaven. These are the ones that give allegiance to Christ and the only salvation available to all people which comes through Christ by the will of the only God that has ever existed. Since we are being built into the dwelling place of God which is Spiritual, logically our heart is set to a spiritual citizenship.
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;
Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord-- for we walk by faith, not by sight-- we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.
2 Corinthians 5:6-8
This scripture demonstrates the desire of the Christian to be away from the physical life and home in the spiritual existence with God. This defines our permanent and truthful home, the presence of the Lord.