“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who are chosen” (I Peter 1:1)
Peter wrote to the Christians who were scattered throughout what is now the nation of Turkey, and told them that they were “aliens.” This Greek Bible word means “one who comes from a foreign country into a city or land to reside there by the side of the natives; hence, stranger; sojourning in a strange place, a foreigner” (Thayers Greek Lexicon). The contemporary term “illegal aliens” refers to people who are not citizens of the country in which they are currently living. Peter said that Christians are to view themselves this way: as strangers living in a foreign land.
This word applies to Christians living today as well. We need to view ourselves as “aliens”, and not make ourselves too comfortable as citizens of this world. The Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 3:20 that “our citizenship is in heaven.” Now Paul DID claim and use his Roman citizenship to his advantage, modeling for Christians who follow after him that we need not REJECT the benefits and responsibilities of citizenship of the land in which we live on earth. Rather we should consider that our ultimate home is the one we will dwell in forever in heaven, not the one we temporarily inhabit here on earth. Like Israel in the Babylonian exile, we need to make sure that we do not forget our real home. We must not compromise our faith, and adopt the ungodly practices of the peoples in whose land we temporarily live, no matter what it costs us, or how “unpopular” it might make us here. Remember: it won’t last long. We are here only a brief time. We must live like those whose home is in heaven, not like those whose ultimate treasure is found here on earth.
As the old song says: “This world is not my home; I’m just a passin’ through.” If you are a Christian, you are not a permanent resident here. Your ultimate home is in heaven. You are an alien.