So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints. Ephesians 2:19a
Think of a scenario where someone is looking to permanently migrate to another country and who has decided he will not be returning to India again. Yet he buys a big bungalow to live and a brand-new car to drive for the last few days of his stay here in India. You would think the man has gone mad! Yet that is exactly how a lot of us are living our lives. We know our stay in this world is only transitory and our eternal home awaits us. Yet our whole lives are invested in the dreams and aspirations that goes no further than pursuing the glamour of this world.
In our verse today, the Holy Spirit tells us that because the Gentiles have access and peace with God, they are no longer strangers and aliens. In the political life of ancient Ephesus, strangers (xenos) were foreigners with no rights & privileges and aliens (paroikos) described people who came from another country or city and settled in another, but did not rank as citizens. In Christ Jesus, the Gentiles are no longer strangers and aliens. In the family of God, there are no strangers. There are no aliens. We’re all citizens of the same kingdom. There’s no difference. There are no second-class citizens in the kingdom of God.
Both believing Jews and Gentiles are co-beneficiaries of the covenants of promise (Ephesians 2:12). They will inherit an eternal city of God where Jesus Christ is the King. Beloved of God, you are an heir of a land where God will wipe away every tear from your eyes; a dwelling place where there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain (Revelation 21:4). That is where your true citizenship lies.
The Scripture further describes us as sojourners and exiles of this world (1 Peter 2:11). And that is how we are to think of ourselves. Our sense of identity should not be derived from this world. Pilgrims do not get attached to a place they pass by. They maintain their focus on their destination. We have to constantly remember that we are not going to stay here for long. Heaven is our home and we should live like it. An ambassador of China residing in India will do his best to represent his country. His body language, words and attitude will reflect the ambience of his country where his true citizenship lies. Similarly, our lives should reflect the graces of the eternal country where we have our true citizenship.
So then, dear Christian, where do you store your treasures? For where your treasure is, there your heart will be. The Lord told us a parable of a rich man whose land produced plentifully and who thought of building bigger barns by tearing down the old ones and who said to himself, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry’. Yet his soul was required of him by God the very night the man pondered these things. Such are the ones who lay up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God. Of this parable, J.C Ryle, a preacher of old commented, “Thousands are laying up treasure upon earth and thinking of nothing but how to increase it. They are continually adding to their hoards, as if they were to enjoy them forever, and as if there was no death, no judgment, and no world to come!”
Dear ones, your life is short yet your task is great. Invest your life in the cause of the gospel. Be the salt and light wherever the Lord has put you in. Live a life worthy of the gospel. Paul towards the end of his life, in his letter to Timothy, his child in the faith wrote, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing”.
May it be so for you too. May it be at your home coming to the Lord, you are greeted with the precious words, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter the joy of your master”.