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Resident Aliens

Chuck Colson defined the Christian Mission Statement as “Defending The Truth. Living The Faith. Advancing The Kingdom.” At What Now 2 Do, we use that definition interchangeably with “to influence and occupy,” or “to know God, and to make Him known.”

However you define it, the Christian mission includes living our lives as a testimony to God and as an example to those who have not yet accepted Christ (our “mission field” – see To Influence And Occupy, May 18, 2021). This is walking the talk. And maybe never before in human history has it been more important than right now.

Christian’s are citizens of God’s Kingdom which makes us resident aliens in this world. In our continuing journey on being Identified With Christ and on carrying out The Great Commission, today’s post explores the life of a Christian as resident alien.

It takes a lifetime and beyond to become holy (sanctified). Most Christians believe that during this life we grow in holiness. But it is only at the resurrection – or at some divine moment of creation after death and prior to entering heaven – that we become finally holy. But even then, there is reason to consider that in the kingdom of God we might well eternally grow into more and more holiness.

It not only takes a lifetime. It also takes a church or a community of faith to display this new holiness. Here is one of the most memorable descriptions of the church in the whole of church history from the anonymous second-century Epistle to Diognetus:

For Christians are no different from other people in terms of their country, language, or customs. Nowhere do they inhabit cities of their own, use a strange dialect, or live life out of the ordinary. . . . They inhabit both Greek and barbarian cities, according to the lot assigned to each. And they show forth the character of their own citizenship in a marvelous and admittedly paradoxical way by following local customs in what they wear and what they eat and in the rest of their lives. They live in their respective countries, but only as resident aliens; they participate in all things as citizens, and they endure all things as foreigners. Every foreign territory is a homeland for them, every homeland foreign territory. They marry like everyone else and have children, but they do not expose them once they are born. They share their meals but not their sexual partners. They are found in the flesh but do not live according to the flesh. They live on earth but participate in the life of heaven. They are obedient to the laws that have been made, and by their own lives they supersede the laws.”

That’s what new holiness looks like.

Idealistic? Perhaps. But probably not. Why? Because the Spirit has been unleashed. And those who are open to the Spirit can do a transforming work that makes God’s people a shining display of loving holiness.

Go forth.

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