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Pilgrims in This World

 The apostle Peter wrote in 1 Peter 1:1, “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.”

He’s calling believers in Jesus Christ “pilgrims.” He has a very pointed purpose for using that word—he wanted them to understand the mindset needed while still in this world. We as believes are not earth-dwellers; we are pilgrims. We are a people who are not in their real home.

This perspective is still on Peter’s heart as he continues to write. In 1 Peter 2:11 we read, “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul.”

Again, he calls them “sojourners and pilgrims.”

What is a pilgrim? The Complete Word Study Dictionary defines a pilgrim as “a stranger, not simply one who is passing through, but a foreigner who has settled down, however briefly, next to or among native people.”[1] It defines sojourner, which is sometimes translated “stranger,” as “one who dwells in a foreign country, a temporary dweller not having a settled habitation in the place where he currently resides.”[2] A sojourner is a person who has a home that is near, but it’s not right here.

Peter’s perspective for believers was that, like pilgrims and sojourners, they were away from their true home. He felt this world was a temporary stop over and ultimately not worth living for. The world’s fading, decaying, corruptible ways and treasures have little eternal value.

Jonathan Edmonson, a respected Methodist preacher from the mid 1800s, shared Peter’s perspective and wrote, “We are strangers and pilgrims on earth—but we look forward to heaven as our Eternal home.”[3]

Scripture calls us strangers, sojourners, and pilgrims. We’re called to be eternally minded believers who know in our hearts that heaven is our real home. And that’s what should captivate us, not this earth.

Do you feel as though you belong here? Or, is your heart captivated by Heaven? Is Heaven the focus of your day? Or are the things of this world (money, power, position, prestige to name a few) your target?

In this season, as we spend time pondering the resurrection of Jesus Christ and all that did for us, let’s also check our priority and focus—this world or heaven.

To learn more about Heaven and how we can keep it in focus, I encourage you to read my new book, Between Heaven and Earth.

[1] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament, E-Sword edition.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Jonathan Edmondson, Scripture Views of the heavenly World (New York: G. Lane & C.B. Tippett, 1846), E-book edition.

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