Call. Context. Commission.
Yesterday, I discussed our call to action as we seek to follow Christ in a post-Christian culture. In an age where Christians are concerned over cultural change, we need to begin by rediscovering our call to mission and identity as the people of God. Today, I briefly highlight our context and our commission as we follow Christ today.
Our Context: We are exiles in a foreign land.
In order to think through this call, an important step for the church is to reevaluate our context. Displaced from cultural dominance, the church needs to embrace its historic identity as spiritual exiles—citizens of heaven who for a time are strangers in a hostile world.
This has ALWAYS been our identity but, at times, the church needs to be reminded of such.
Scripture consistently reminds us that believers are not at home in this world. In the Book of John, Jesus tells us that his kingdom is “not of this world” and that his followers do not belong to this world (John 15:19, 18:36). He reminds us that our love for God inevitably sets us outside of the loves of this world and that this results in our rejection by the world. Paul reminds us that it is our fellow citizenship with the saints in heaven that informs our abiding hope even in the midst of hardship (Phil. 3:20).
This message is front and center in 1 Peter, where the apostle sets the tone early by greeting “God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces.” Speaking to a church undergoing persecution and suffering, Peter reminds them that they are the people of God—whether Jew or Gentile they are chosen as God’s holy ones. Mirroring Isaiah 40, Peter reminds his readers that this hostility and danger arises from the fact that they are exiles ...