The past three months of post-election drama have left many of us somewhat dazed and confused about the future—especially after the events of this past week (January 6th). Depending on which side of the political divide you find yourself (and I know Christians on both sides…some more extreme than others), you will feel either a sense of hopeful optimism or a sense of pessimistic gloom about our future in “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” The danger for us, of course, is that if we overly identify with either side, we will not only run the risk of thinking our party can “save the world,” but lose the distinctive sense of who we really are as Christians along with our God-given calling.

So, who are we in this world? How are we to see ourselves? I have found 1 Peter 2:11 to be a very helpful guide. In this verse, Peter reminds us that we are “sojourners and exiles” in this world. This is the self-conscious way that Peter sees the Christian journey. It is a sojourn. A sojourner, by very definition, is a temporary resident and a temporary stay. Peter also refers to us as exiles, which literally means foreigner or refugee. We are refugees in a lost world waiting for a “city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God,” a “homeland” and “a better country” (Hebrews 11:10, 14, 16).

Yet, we must also acknowledge that now matters…here matters. Yes! This flesh-infected, transient world of division and darkness, is still important. It’s the place we are to testify to the saving power of Jesus. It is a sinking ship that needs to hear the message that in Christ alone, rescue has come. It’s a world that needs to see sacrificial love and humility at work in the lives of ordinary believers making their way home.

In terms of political parties, we may align with one over the other for biblical and moral reasons. But we must resist the temptation to assimilate ourselves to the party. Jesus, strangely enough, had more biblical alignment with the conservative Pharisees than with the biblically liberal Sadducees (see Matthew 22:29-34; as did Paul in Acts 23:6-7). While there was alignment with the Pharisaical party on the point of resurrection, Jesus refused to assimilate himself to a self-righteous, unloving conservatism embodied by this faithless party. Paul did the same. Alignment on certain issues is one thing. Assimilation and identification are another. They will only lead to an angry idolatry if your party loses or a smug idolatry if your party wins. My encouragement to all of us is to remember that this is a very temporary stay. We are sojourners in a foreign land called to live as “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that [we] may proclaim the excellencies of him who called [us] out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).

(Originally published in 2021)

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