“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ: To the temporary residents dispersed in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.”
1 Peter 1:1 (HCSB)
If you are a temporary resident of a country, how should you behave?
The Greek word used by Peter to describe his readers is parapidemoi. It has been translated in different ways: aliens, strangers, exiles, sojourners, etc. The Greek implies someone who resides away from his or her own homeland, and therefore “temporary resident” is possibly the best translation.
In Hebrews 11:13 the great men and women of faith are said to have “admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth” (NIV UK). The same word, parapidemoi, is used. They were temporary residents.
Peter, like Paul, understood that believers had a spiritual homeland but meanwhile they had to live physically wherever they were, be it in the country of their birth or elsewhere. No matter where on earth believers like you or me may reside, “our citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20).
Peter’s advice about how to live as a temporary resident on earth remains helpful for us today. Because we are “a people belonging to God”, let’s “abstain from sinful desires” and “lives such good lives” that others “may see your good deeds and glorify God”. “Live as free men, do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone” (1 Peter 2:9, 11-12; 3:16-17).
Let’s put Peter’s advice into practice wherever we live, being filled with “an inexpressible and glorious joy”, as we await “eternal glory in Christ” (1:8; 5:10).
Father, we long for the return of your Son and to dwell eternally with you. As we live temporarily now on this earth, let your Spirit guide us so that we reflect your goodness in all that we do and say. In Jesus’ name.
Study by James Henderson
About the Author:
James Henderson is the National Ministry Leader for Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland. You are welcome to attend any of our local congregations. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.wcg.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.