Interesting words Peter uses to describe believers who had been dispersed throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia (modern day Turkey) ... various Bible translations use the terms aliens, strangers, sojourners, pilgrims, foreigners, and exiles. These words keep bringing us back to the idea that Christians are a people making a brief stay in a strange and foreign place; who are temporarily residing among a people to whom he/she doesn't truly belong; who would not expect to be regarded as a native of the place where he/she is living. In this Sunday's sermon from 1 Peter 2:11-12 we will again examine how the Christian is called to live in this situation. We will particularly focus on the daily battle of the Christian life. Please read this passage and ask the Lord to prepare you for the message.
Considering the situation these believers find themselves in (strangers, aliens, etc.) you might be tempted to think that God was punishing them for something, that He was angry with them, that He had withheld His blessing from them, that He thought less of them. However, consider the phrase that Peter uses in 2:11 to address these believers. They are called "beloved." There is no lack of love flowing from God's heart toward His children. Peter has already described these followers of Jesus as chosen, saved, born again to a living hope, heirs, guarded by God's power, children of God, living stones, set apart for God, royalty, God's own people, and recipients of His mercy. God loves His children and in this profound love calls His children to live in the reality of that truth.
As we come to worship this Sunday to hear God's Word and to feast at His table, let's remember that we come as His "beloved" and whatever instruction, conviction, rebuke, correction, prompting, or leading He gives to our hearts is always given in the context of that amazing love. This is true, even as we live as aliens and strangers in the land.