Living in exile

If you have become a Christian by putting your faith in Jesus Christ you are an exile and not living in your native country.  When you became a Christian you acquired a new citizenship.

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.  (Philippians 3:20)

Because of this our present status in this world is that of exile.

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.  (1 Peter 1:10)

This isn’t the first time God’s people have lived in exile.  After God freed the Israelites from slavery in Egypt he gave them a land of their own.  They disobeyed God and as punishment they were conquered by the Babylonians and lived in captivity there for 70 years.  Jeremiah wrote a letter to them telling them how they should live and some of the things he said are applicable to us today.

Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease.

But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, declares the Lord.

For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place.  For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  (Jeremiah 29:4-11)

Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce.

We need to make a living just as those who are the natural citizens of this world do.

Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease.

We need to produce children to carry on the faith.  There is a second application of this command for us.  We need to share the gospel with others so that they may be born again spiritually.

But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.

We must pray for the governments and cultures in which we find ourselves.  If God blesses them we will share in those blessings.  Some may be called to do more than pray.  Nebuchadnezzar made Daniel an official in his government.  All of us should at least vote when we have the opportunity.  Some of us may be called by God to become more involved in government and politics.

Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, declares the Lord.

We need to be on guard against false teachers who claim to be speaking for God.

For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place.

God decreed that the Babylonian captivity would last 70 years.  He has not revealed how long our exile will last.  It will end with the rapture.

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18)

Paul’s use of the word “we” shows that he considered it possible that the rapture would take place while he was still alive but God hasn’t told us when this event will take place.  Conditions in the world today make me think that the time is near, but people have thought that in the past and been mistaken.  It is quite possible that I am wrong too.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

It is easy for those of us who live a comfortable life and experience freedom to serve God to believe this promise.  I suspect that isn’t true of Christians who suffer persecution and see no prospect of change in this present life.  Whenever we experience trouble we need to remember that our troubles will not last forever but God’s promises will.

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Posted on January 4, 2019, in Bible study and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Amen and amen! This is not my home; it is my temporary abode while I wait to be called home!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for this reminder, Clyde.

    Liked by 1 person

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