By Dr. John Greever
Hebrews 11:13 “All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.”
When the Lord transforms hearts and minds in regeneration (what a blessed moment that is!), Christians suddenly begin to discover that not only are they changed, but this change makes this world feel strange and different to them. Before we were saved, we felt quite at home in a world in rebellion against God; we too shared the same nature of iniquity.
But after being born again, the Christian finds himself behind enemy lines. This world becomes a battlefield in which light and darkness clash. This is true environmentally, relationally, and even psychologically. We are, as Christians, entombed in an environment that is in consummate reaction AGAINST God. Our relations with other non-believers are strained, even with family and previously close friends. And, sadly, we find that a principle of sin still resonates in our inner lives, and we yearn for the happy day when the Lord will grant us release from our present spiritual struggle.
Yes, the people of God ARE strangers and exiles on earth. Nothing here conforms to Christ, and nothing here aids us on our way to heaven. We are pilgrims marching through a dry desert land.
But we have the blessed assistance of God’s promises, and we welcome them, treasure them, and nurture them in faith and hope. As the Israelites found God’s promise to grant provision in the wilderness, so we find God’s promise accompanying us on the dusty trails in the vale of tears. We look down the corridor of our earthly journey to that time when promise will be changed to experience; we walk by faith now, but soon we will have SIGHT! Every tear will dried, every heartache mended, every fear soothed, and even our fleshly propensity for sin will be changed to absolute and delightful holiness; we will be HOME! Like ancient saints of God, we welcome this fulfillment to God’s promise from afar, and we know it will not be long. At every turn, through every valley, we confess that we belong to that happy heavenly land, the land God promised us in Christ. Until then we focus today on the hope of tomorrow and seek to keep our feet on the narrow path of God’s will and truth.
Prayer: Dear Lord, we feel different than other people on this earth, those who know not Christ as Savior and Lord. There is a loneliness that is inherent in this. But we also rejoice that You have mercifully chosen us for Yourself and Your kingdom. We thankfully worship You for Your kindness to us in the gospel, which contains promise to sustain us every day we live. Help us to live in faith believing that Your promise is true and strengthen us with hope for the day when promise will be fulfilled in heaven. Amen.
John Greever is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Fenton, MO and is a part of the leadership team for Founders Midwest. If you would like more information about Founders Midwest and the annual conference, be sure to check out our Facebook page or visit our website for more information.