“Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice”
Christians as “Aliens”
(Please read 1 Peter 1:1-2)
Depending on which translation you use, you may see the opening of Peter’s first epistle addressed to “aliens,” “strangers,” “the Dispersion,” “refugees,” “exiles,” “foreigners,” “scattered people” or perhaps some other similar words. These terms apply because Peter was writing to Jews who had become Christians and had left Judea because of persecution. They were aliens in strange lands in various parts of the Roman Empire. They were practicing a religion and a way of life that the native citizens of those countries considered strange. They were often the objects of ridicule and victims of discrimination and persecution.
At the very beginning, Peter’s letter offers comfort to the aliens, reminding them that they are chosen by God, and invoking a blessing on them: “May Grace and peace be yours in fullest measure.”
With these points before us, let’s think for a moment about our status in the United States of America. Are we, like those early Christians, aliens in a secular society? It appears that in many ways we are, and we can learn much from Peter’s letter about how to conduct ourselves in a hostile environment. We have room here for only one passage, but it should be sufficient to comfort and encourage us throughout this day: “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” (3:15, NASB).