Did I mention that I was a Christian? Well, I guess in writing some Thoughts on a Church website, you might have assumed that. Well let me tell you, Christians are a peculiar people …and the Bible says so too (1 Peter 2:9, KJV). And I don't mean 'funny peculiar'!
I'm referring to the fact that as born-again believers, we remain in this world but we are not actually of it. If we are children of God, then we are citizens of Heaven and indeed have a confirmed reservation there (Philippians 3:20-21 and John 14:1-4).
For our older readers, the Puritans of old would have said that we are merely passing through this scene of time and as Jim Reeves once sang…
This world is not my home I'm just a-passing through
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue
The angels beckon me from heaven's open door
And I can't feel at home in this world any more
When I was thinking about this 'just passing through' thing, I came across a couple of Bible verses:
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)
This first verse is a warning for Christians to ensure their allegiance and devotion is to the Lord Jesus Christ rather than a corrupt world system. Although we live 'in the world', we are to keep our eyes fixed on the Creator of the world. Now this doesn't mean that we only have Christian friends, or that we meet in a holy huddle and exclude those who are not like-minded, or that we exclude ourselves completely from society. Indeed, as Christians, we are to be like light in our dark communities (Matt 5:14) and we are not to hide this light from those around us (Matt 5:15).
For me, the second verse was a bit more scary:
You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4)
I struggled with this verse as I was challenged to look at the distinction between myself and non-Christian friends. I mean, do I really take care of those in need better than the world does? Do I worry over mundane things just as much as the world does? Do I not often value the same things as the world does?
All of us as Christians need to ensure that our relationship with "the world" does not affect our relationship with God. We need to live, not by the standards of this world, but by God's standards.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)
At the end of the day, we are only victorious through faith in Jesus Christ. He is the Author and Perfecter of our faith. We must rely solely on Him. And that means that we must live in this world without conforming to it. And if we do, others should notice a difference in our character and conduct. Consequently we may not feel quite at home in this world any more!
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light. (1 Peter 2:9, KJV)
(All quotations are from the NASB, unless otherwise noted)
Are you SURE that you have your place booked in Heaven? Read this if you're not!