Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.1 Peter 1:1 (ESV)
Many of us are familiar with these famous lines from the movie The Wizard of Oz: “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.” American actor and dramatist John Howard Payne in his song Home! Sweet Home! wrote the words, “Be is ever so humble, there’s no place like home.” Maybe my favorite “home” line is from The Lion King movie when Pumbaa the warthog says, “Home is where your rump rests.”
When Peter wrote his epistle to the “exiles of the Dispersion” he was writing to a people who had been driven from their homes. It could be that Peter was addressing the Jewish exiles that had been dispersed ever since the Babylonian captivity or maybe it was a group of people who had been dispersed because of Roman persecution. In either case they were living in a place that was not their home.
As Christians we too are living in a place that is not our home. The reason this world is not our home is because we have been chosen out of this world or as Peter might say we are “elect exiles.” Jesus said to his disciples, If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. (John 15:19 ESV) Our citizenship does not lie in the country, state or city in which our earthly body resides; our citizenship is not of this world. We have been chosen for heavenly citizenship.
Paul wrote to the Ephesians that believers in Christ are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God (Ephesians 2:19). He wrote to the Corinthian church that if our earthly home, that is our body, was destroyed we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens (2 Corinthians 5:1). He also wrote, Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:8 ESV) Jesus himself said that he was going away to prepare a place for those who believe (John 14:2).
The writer of Hebrews wrote that the Old Testament faithful acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. The writer went on to say, For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. (Hebrews 11:14-16 ESV)
Christians cannot love this world and call heaven home. The primary allegiance of every Christian is the kingdom of God.
Where does your allegiance lie? Do you love this present world? Are you longing for home?
Scriptures for meditation:
John 17:14, 16
1 John 2:15-16