“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:9-12). 

I’m strange. There you have it – I admit it. I’ve been told I was hatched and not born, quirky, different, and “don’t fit into the box.” It used to irk me that people looked at me like some kind of E.T. (who was, by the way, quite cute, witty, and warm). It took me a long time to understand that being misunderstood is not all bad. No, I don’t want to revel in my innate strangeness but, in a sense, we as Christ-followers are called be a little hard to understand and something of a supernatural mystery. Why? Because we are “strange-rs” here on this planet (see Hebrews 11:35-40). Terra Firma is not our real home and the ruler of this world is not our Master (John 12:31). We are aliens and, therefore, sometimes alienated from those who make this life their treasure. Sometime we should feel exiled due to a Holy Spirit produced discomfort with our current abode (sometimes called a “tent” – see 2 Corinthians 5:1). 

Here Peter is encouraging his readers to not live by the world’s rules, to not let ourselves get too comfortable in our culture. After all, we are the strange sojourners that abstain from our natural inclinations and flee from the enticements of joyless carnal urges. We are commanded to not compromise our calling for the sake of thinking, looking, talking, and acting like the very thing we are called to season and light (Matthew 5:13-16). We are to walk in a manner of worthy our God and His gospel (see Colossians 1:10; Philippians 1:27). We are to extol His infinitely superior virtues by a life that is radically different yet can’t be honestly condemned by our accusers. If that makes us an enigma to a lost world then so be it. In the end, this is how we glorify our God who is beyond human understanding and philosophical reasoning, a God who nothing in this life compares to. And this is how we demonstrate to the natural race the supernatural excellencies of our heavenly Father. 

So what is it that compels and empowers us to be this kind of stranger in the midst of the broad current of sin that we swim against? According to Peter this is because we have been abducted (“chosen” is the term he uses in verse 9) by God. Now I know that science fiction and hallucinations tell us about alien abductions, but I’m saying that we become strangers in this world because we have been we drawn to the light because of a seeking Savior. Convicting and capturing us. Snatching us out of the clutches of our sin and pursuing us so we can receive His mercy and His righteousness. We have become His possession. We are, due to His unmerited favor and no yearning of our own (see Romans 3:10-11), His royal priesthood and holy nation. In other words, He has rescued (abducted) us so that we would be the kind of aliens this world needs to see His greatness and glory. 

Isn’t it so sweet that our Savior has made us strangers to that which would destroy us? Don’t we adore Him for abducting us from the darkness and showing us the marvelous light of His beauty? Aren’t we awestruck that He has made us His aliens in this world to image forth His incomparable awesomeness? So, being strange or alien isn’t so bad after all. Actually, when it is caused and compelled by God, I can think of few greater things. For it means that we are His as sojourners in this land and heirs to an immeasurably greater reward and promise than anything this earth has to offer. So let’s rejoice that we have been abducted by His indescribable love to be aliens for His praise in this life, knowing that our eternal home and His presence await us.

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