– Billy Graham
Not of this World
When Pilate asked Jesus if He were a king, Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world” (John 18:36). If we’re Christian, this is not our world either. We are citizens of the coming kingdom of God. People were asking Jesus about the coming kingdom, and He clearly told them, “The kingdom of God is in your midst” (17:21). It was in their midst because the King of that kingdom was there with them in Jesus. This was not Jesus’ kingdom, and it was not from this world, but it is coming someday.
We Are Pilgrims
Peter in writing to the church wrote, “I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul” (1 Pet 2:11). Peter described us as sojourners and exiles because in this world that’s what we are. We are much like the pilgrims who came over from England to find a new home, but unlike them we haven’t arrived yet. We are still on our journey home. That day is coming, my friend, and I don’t know about you, but I’m so ready to get there.
We Are Strangers
The definition of a stranger is someone who is not known where he is presently living. The world does not know us any more than they knew Jesus. When the Jews asked Jesus Who He was, He responded by saying, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also” (John 8:19). The disciples knew Who Jesus was, and, thus, they knew the Father, but to the religious leaders in Jesus’ day, just as the lost today, they don’t really know the Father. Since we know Jesus and the Father, the world won’t know us either because we’re strangers in a world that is separated from God by their sins (Isaiah 59:1-2), but we’ve been reconciled to God through Jesus’ blood; thus, we know God. It was “through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross” (Col 1:20) and “brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him” (2 Cor 5:18).
We’re Not Home Yet
I’m going home, but I’m not there yet. I am just passing through this world. The day that Christ returns, or on the day of my death, I’ll finally be home. I don’t want this world as my home. I am looking for an eternal kingdom that will never pass away, unlike this world, which is only temporary. I am looking forward to better things, so I am pressing ahead, and someday, like Paul, you and I can say, “I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim 4:7).
The believer looks at this world as a temporary place that we’re just passing through. We are a stranger, pilgrim, and sojourner looking for a better place, just like “Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God” (Heb 11:10). That is the same city that we’re citizens of and is the ultimate destination of our journey.