For it is by grace you have been saved...

Friday, October 17, 2014

We Are Exiles

Studying the opening words of 1 Peter, I was reminded of a very profound fact.  We are exiles.  We are aliens and strangers in this land.  We don’t belong here.  And if that’s the case, then we ought to live like it.

Here’s just a little excerpt from a message Charles Spurgeon preached from Philippians 3:20 which tells us that our true citizenship is in heaven. 

If our citizenship be in heaven, then WE ARE ALIENS HERE; we are strangers and foreigners, pilgrims and sojourners in the earth, as all our fathers were. In the words of Sacred Writ “Here we have no continuing city,” but “we desire a better country, that is an heavenly.”

I know that men of this world say we must keep up appearances; we must be respectable; we must do as others do; we must swim with the tide; we must move with the crowd; but not so the upright believer: “No,” says he, “Do not expect me to fall in with your ways and customs; I am in Rome, but I shall not do as Rome does. I will let you see that I am an alien, and that I have rights as an alien, even here in this foreign land. I am not to be bound to fight your battles, nor march at the sound of your drums.” Brethren, we are soldiers of Christ; we are enlisted in his army; and as aliens here, we are not to be constrained into the army of evil. Let lords and lands have what masters they will, let us be free, for Christ is our Master still. The seventy thousand whom God has reserved, will not bow the knee to Baal. Be it known unto thee, O world, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the image which thou hast set up. Servants of God we are, and we will not be in bondage unto men.

Christian men, ye must never covet the world’s esteem; the love of this world is not in keeping with the love of God. “If any man love the world the love of the Father is not in him.” Treat its smiles as you treat its threats, with quiet contempt. Be willing rather to be sneered at than to be approved, counting the cross of Christ greater riches than all the treasures of Egypt.

He says much, much more, but you get the general idea.  We are strangers here, and we ought to live like it. Folks ought to see by our lives that we are of another land.  We should walk, talk, act, think, look different than those around us. 

One of my all time favorite songs is by the Christian band AD, led by former Kansas guitarist/songwriter Kerry Livgren.  Called Exiles, it reminds us these very truths.  It goes like this:

Distant home,
Across the Earth we roam,
leaving all that we possess behind us,
Known by name, we make no earthly claim,
Waiting for the one we seek to find us.

Exiles of another kind, with our maker intertwined
Vessels on a sea of love,
Aliens to Mother Earth, waiting for the second birth,
Vessels on a sea of love,
A sea of love.

Out of bounds,
No boundary surrounds,
No one's worldly object of desire,
Nations fade, but this foundation's laid, shaped in the divine refiner's fire.


Eyes are fixed on the goal ahead,
So alive, but to the world we're dead,
Inside outside and upside down,
Each man stands on the rock he's found,
Twice removed from the human race,
We found our peace in a hiding place,
Strangers living in a foreign land,
Now we fall, but in the end we'll stand.

Exiles of the world,
Exiles of the world.

Exiles of the world,
Exiles of the world.

No release for prisoners of peace,
Willing to be slaves of our own choosing,
Promising to serve no mortal king,
Gaining so much more than we are losing.


We are exiles,
We are exiles.

Lord, forgive us for seeking to fit in and be accepted when you have called us to stand out and be heralds of our True King.  Remind us we are truly exiles here.

Here’s the song.  Great music, classic guitar solo, but it’s really the message I’d encourage you to focus on.  

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