Strangers and Aliens No Longer
“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).- Ephesians 2:19
Though we may travel far and wide, there is truly nothing like returning home after a trip. Having a place where we always belong is a great blessing indeed, and this remains true whether we live in a castle or just a humble bungalow. John Howard Payne captured well the love people have for their homes in the song “Home, Sweet Home” from his operetta Clari, Maid of Milan: “Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home!”
Given the longing we all have for a place to call home, it follows that one of the worst fates that can ever befall us, humanly speaking, is homelessness. This is the plight of countless refugees all around the world, who, due to war and other reasons, cannot return to their homelands. Moreover, all people who do not know the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ suffer this condition, spiritually speaking. Without personal faith in His person and work, we have no home in the one kingdom that will last forever — the kingdom of God (Eph. 2:11–12; see Ps. 45:6; Rev. 11:15).
Lacking the covenants of promise delivered to Abraham and his physical descendants, Gentiles feel this refugee status — this spiritual homelessness — most acutely. Yet as we have seen repeatedly over the past few days, this homelessness ends for everyone who trusts in Jesus. As the apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:19, Gentile Christians are “no longer strangers and aliens” but “fellow citizens” of the household of God. The Greek terms for strangers and aliens in this verse reveal the desperation of those outside of Christ. “Strangers” translates the plural form of the word xenos — a person who lived in a foreign land without any rights except those given by a treaty. “Aliens” is from the plural of the term paroikos — a resident alien, one who lived more permanently in a foreign country than a xenos, but still only had few rights. In Jesus, believers are no longer vulnerable and homeless. They have citizenship in a heavenly country, a place where God guarantees divine protection forever (Heb. 11:13–16).
Moreover, we have no second-class citizenship, but rather the rights of all those who have been faithful to Yahweh, the covenant Lord of Israel throughout the ages. In Christ, we have an eternal home — the kingdom of God (Luke 13:29).
Though we may lose our homes in this world for any number of reasons, including persecution for the sake of Christ, we can be assured that in Jesus we have an eternal home in His kingdom. We are to look forward to this eternal home, and the hope of living forever in God’s presence sustains us in even the worst forms of suffering. Let us not be too attached to life in this world but rather long for our everlasting residence.
Passages for Further Study
2 Corinthians 5:1–10
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