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Pilgrims and Strangers

“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” Hebrews 11:13

When the miracle of regeneration occurs and a life is bound in union to Jesus, they become a citizen of an age not yet dawned and a kingdom not yet come (Philippians 3:21). Our King has ascended to the right hand of the Father in the heights of the heavens and we are exiles on this earth until He returns (1 Peter 1:17). Jesus does not remove His people from the world that hated Him and crucified Him, but tells us to remain and live as sojourning heralds of the good news amidst the rebellious nations (John 17:13-19).

We are called to embrace this foreign, transcendent identity and set our hope entirely on the glorious Day when Jesus comes to the earth (1 Pet 1:13). A rich reward awaits those who love His appearing rather than this present world – those who have “maranatha!” as the throbbing cry at the center of their life (2 Timothy 4:8-10, 1 Corinthians 16:22). The consequence of this upheaval of hope is to be a radical unconformity of our lives (Romans 12:2). The way we relate to the world around us is to be as wayfarers who have no inheritance here. Food, relationships, experiences, and possessions all become means rather than ends – mediums of declaring the preciousness of Jesus and the glory of His kingdom of righteousness in the age to come.

Yet most of us feel far too at home in this evil age (Galatians 1:4). We attempt to masquerade as those who belong in order to soften the harsh resistance of a world hostile to God and His sovereign claims. Rather than storing up imperishable treasure for the age to come we fumble about like the nations, groping desperately to build castles of sand that can house fleeting trinkets and gadgets destined for decay.

The missionary, however, must be of a different stock. The longer they straddle cultures, the more they belong to none. They will never truly assimilate into the soil of their labor, and yet they reach a threshold where they can never live as they once did in their nation of origin. This process is devastating and disenfranchising unless a deeper truth has taken hold of them. As they leave behind the shores of their homeland, they are not taking on the citizenship of another nation but rather declaring to all that they will have no home on the earth until their King returns. Until the kingdoms of the world become His once and for all, they will live amongst the nations as pilgrims and strangers.

Keeping Hope Alive

November 11, 2015 By Luke Wood in Pilgrims and Strangers

In Luke 22:14-20 we see Jesus meeting with His disciples for the last time before His crucifixion. It was during this ‘Last Supper’ that Jesus commanded His friends to continue meeting together to celebrate and remember what we now call the ‘Eucharist.’ The wine was given to represent Jesus’ blood that was to be shed and the bread was given to represent Jesus’ body that was to be broken.

The Ancient Dream

July 28, 2015 By Brian Kim in Pilgrims and Strangers

Most of us, even us followers of Jesus, live lives of boredom, unfulfillment, intimidation, and resignation to mediocrity. Inherently we long to live lives of adventure, lives that make a lasting impact on the earth, lives that count in eternity. Yet too many of us remain heroes only in our own imaginations. We never take the next step of faith that leads to this glorious adventure, the promise of abundant life, courageous love, and pilgrim faith.

Fight the Good Fight

July 23, 2015 By Luke Wood in Pilgrims and Strangers

Young boys daydream of battles fought and won all of their life. As a child, I regarded bloody conflicts and epic battles as something buried in the past, antiquated and distant, written on the pages of a bygone era. Yet there is something profoundly enlightening about carrying a wartime mentality in everyday life. A man whose country is on the brink of war behaves much differently in his day to day activities than a man who is surrounded by peace and safety. This has caused me to consider my grandfather's generation, a generation raised against the backdrop of war.

Hope and Joy

Our joy is inextricably tied to our hope. Whatever we have set our hope upon ultimately becomes a source of deep rejoicing in our lives. At times this is in the anticipation of the thing hoped for, at others it is in experiencing the actual substance of the thing hoped for. The betrothed bride hopes in the day of her wedding, but begins to drink of the joy of that day even in the waiting through her certain expectation of what is to come.