Anglican Morning Devotion for 10 February 2022 Anno Domini
a ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” (1 Peter 2:10-12; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
“Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.” (1 Peter 2:17)
Truly, the Christian is a pilgrim and a stranger in this wilderness world of sin and darkness. You may ask, “In what ways are we like unto pilgrims and strangers?” In many ways, however, below I have listed some characteristics that identify the Christian as a pilgrim and a stranger in the world.
A pilgrim travels lightly since he is not intending to make a permanent settlement in this world. He carries with him only the necessities of life that enable him to continue his journey. There are no cities, attractions, or worldly venues that appeal to his taste. He seeks the better Kingdom of God. To the Christian pilgrim, all the world is a wilderness and a habitation of confusion and darkness. “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. 9By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: 10For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” (Hebrews 11:7-10)
The pilgrim searches out the land beyond the distant horizon and even bears the promises of that land in his heart and soul. His vision is far-looking well beyond the paltry offerings of a lost world. “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 15And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. 16But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.” (Hebrews 11:13-16)
The pilgrim is forever a stranger and a vagabond to the world. He is viewed with distrust, suspicion, and contempt. He is far too different from the ways of the world to fit in with even the world’s best-behaved culprits. He is like the gypsy who roams the nations but is never able to rest long at one place. Not only does the modest apparel of the Christian clash with the scanty and silken rags of the world, but his manner of living makes all the world very uncomfortable. It arouses a sense of contemptuous guilt in the heart of those whose eternal home will be the world. Like the Rich man, their inheritance is the grave and Hell, while Lazarus is given an angelic escort to the bosom of Abraham.
The Christian has only one overriding fear – the fear of bringing shame and dishonor upon the Name of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. “Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.” (1 Peter 2:17) That fear is not the cringing fear of those who are of the world who, in every way, attempt to shun the Name of the Lord to forego their dread of the coming judgment. Fear has its purpose for “…the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Proverbs (:10) Instead of denying that fear, as does the world, the Elect are driven by the compulsion of the Holy Ghost to learn to fear God as an obedient child fears disappointing its earthly father, but more. That fear changes from a mortal fear to a loving fear at the last. We do not fear fiery judgment to come, but our failures to honor, worship, and reverence Him who is our Maker and Savior.
The final destiny of all the wicked is the world which will end with fervent heat, sufficient to melt even the nuclear elements, but not the living souls of the wicked therein. But ours is the Ark of Christ whose Door God the Father will close at His coming discretion. If we have made our way through that Door (which is also Christ) at the last Trump, then shall our days of pilgrimage end, and our hardships as strangers in a strange land come to an end – for we are Home at last.