The Bible clearly says that we are mere strangers and passersby here on earth, for our citizenship is in heaven. This world is not our permanent home. In his prayer, King David revealed this truth and said, “We are aliens and strangers in your sight, as were all our forefathers. Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope” (1 Chron. 29:15). It is for this reason that we need to live our lives circumspectly, not as fools, but wisely redeeming our time here on earth. In this way, we shall not entangle ourselves with the things of this world that will hinder us from entering our Promised Land. Therefore, it is but right to heed the apostle Peter’s admonition: “Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear” (1 Peter 1:17).
To live in reverent fear is to acknowledge God’s saving grace through our Lord Jesus Christ. As believers, this moves us to believe in God and to love him more. The Book of Hebrews better describes this when it says, “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ‘God is a consuming fire’” (Heb. 12:28-29). Indeed, the hope of entering the presence of God motivates us to live our lives wisely and reverently.
As foreigners and strangers here on earth, wisdom calls that we live like our forefathers did. We are told that, by faith, Abraham “made his home in the Promised Land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Heb. 11:9-10). This is a good picture of one not building a permanent home here on earth. This was also depicted in the way the Israelites lived during their wandering in the desert. They were on their journey to the Promised Land and they did not build permanent structures to serve as their homes for they were constantly moving. The wilderness was not their permanent home.
In encouraging believers to live in reverent fear, the apostle Peter gave three good reasons to do so. Firstly, we are precious in the sight of God. He said, “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers” (1 Peter 1:18). God will not allow us to live miserable lives and in hopelessness. He will provide for us and will sustain us with his loving care. Jesus made this clear when he said, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matt 6:26). He loves us and will always treasure us.
Secondly, we are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. Peter said that we were redeemed not by silver or gold “but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:19). No amount of silver and gold can redeem us. The Psalmist said, “The ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough- that he should live on forever and not see decay” (Psalm 49:8-9). Though the ransom for our life is costly, God redeemed us, “for God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:9). Therefore, Jesus had to shed his blood for our redemption. The apostle Peter then said of Jesus, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24).
Lastly, we are restored unto God (Born Again). The apostle Peter said, “Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God” (1 Peter 1:21). This restoration is by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Peter further said, “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God” (1 Peter 1:23). And having been born again, he said, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Cor. 5:17).
While we live as strangers and foreigners here on earth, God’s plan is for us to enjoy life fully. Nevertheless, we are warned: “Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul” (1 Peter 2:11). May the Lord continually renew our heart and soul, that we may not be entangled with the affairs of this world and miss our mark. Amen.