Pilgrims on Earth

The Standard November 11, 2021

A lovely write-up on Allison Turnage in the Celebration of Life section of The Standard’s October 28 issue includes a striking comment. “Those who knew Allison well have always known she was better suited for heaven than for this world.” It is true that committed Christians are like pilgrims on earth, just passing through. Our lives are transitory. James says they are like vapor, appearing only for a little while.

The eleventh chapter of Hebrews, often referred to as the “Hall of Faith” or the “Faith Hall of Fame,” points out the fact that God’s people always have been like strangers here on earth. Old Testament men and women- Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Ruth and more– are listed for their unwavering trust in God. “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.” (Hebrews 11:1-2)

“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” (Hebrews 11: 8-10) “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” (Hebrews 11:13-16)

As transients in a world where so many things are not as they should be, we look forward to the day when we arrive at our true home, where all will be made right and every tear will be wiped away.  Focusing on the promise of heaven should motivate us to live out the purity and sacrifice that Jesus modeled.

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” (1 Peter 2:9-12)

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