Do you ever wonder what the original builders think when watching a television show where someone renovates a structure they built? Watching someone take a sledgehammer to a wall you framed and sheetrocked would be a little uncomfortable. Moving walls, opening up or closing a space, and ripping out a bathroom seem to be standard actions during a remodeling. In some cases, the original builder would not recognize the inside of some renovated homes. In effect, the builder would be a stranger in what was his own creation.
Jesus reminded His disciples that they were not of this world just as He was not of this world (see John 17:14-16). But wait a minute! He is the One who created this world. It is HIS world, yet He was a stranger or foreigner? He created it to be something completely different than what He saw as He walked on the dirt He spoke into existence. Sin turned what the Son created into a hostile place.
Peter reminded his readers that they too were no longer native to this world. They too had become foreigners and exiles (“strangers and pilgrims,” KJV; “sojourners and exiles,” ESV; “foreigners and exiles,” NIV) and would need to live as such. (See 1 Peter 2:11.) Most of us understand that foreigners are different and do different things than the natives. Peter had used the same words to describe believers in 1 Peter 1:1 and 1:17. Why are we foreigners and exiles? Because our Lord was. His holiness made Him a foreigner, and it is living out His holiness that should make us foreigners as well. We are to represent our true citizenship well, demonstrating Christ’s character as we journey through this place on our way to our eternal home.
How does identifying with Christ make a person a foreigner in this world? Why would it have been important for Peter’s readers to understand that they were foreigners in this world?