– Hannah More
Why would Hannah More say we’re only a guest, albeit an immortal one, here on earth? What could she mean by that?
We’re Only Sojourners
Just as Israel was prophesied to be a sojourner in the land of Egypt (Gen 15:13), so too are believers’ sojourners on this earth. We are only passing through because this is not our home. Our final destination is the New Jerusalem (Rev 21, 22). Even the earth belongs to the Lord and we are only tenants or sojourners who are living on the earth that God owns (Lev 25:23). God did command Israel to not oppress any of the sojourners who were aliens or not native Israelites (Due 24:14) so God even respected and treated fairly those who were not His chosen people. The similarities to Christians are not lost, even in the Old Testament. Even the Apostle Peter referred to believers as such as he urged “sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul” (1 Pet 2:11).
We are Strangers
The temporary state of our humanity inspired David to write that “we are strangers before you and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding” (1 Chro 29:15). Paul declares to all believers to “remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (Eph 2:12) so “then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Eph 2:19). We are strangers on the earth but no longer to God if we have been born again because then we become “members of the household of God.”
We are Aliens
Once more Peter refers to members of the church as “sojourners and exiles” (1 Pet 2:11) and at one time “not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (1 Pet 2:10) but not aliens any more as far as God is concerned (Eph 2:19) but to the world, most certainly we are. We are simply passing through. This world is not our home and so it is no wonder that the world doesn’t love us (John 15:19; 1 John 2:15).
Hannah More is so right. We are immortal souls on this planet who are simply guests and to unbelievers, unwanted guests, but we must try to bring as many to heaven as we possibly can so that we can bring other immortal souls and direct them to the One Who can give them eternal life (John 3:16; Acts 4:12).