Since you’ve become a Christian, what has changed? Do you have different desires, interests, passions or battles? Or are things the same? Throughout the scriptures, Christians are described as aliens. As those who ought to be experiencing a transient reality in this world. Yet, a problem first identified in the early church, finds itself present in the modern church. This problem is conformity. Whilst Christians are ought to be lights that are set on top of a hill (Matthew 5:14), we often find ourselves dimming this light as if it’s a shame to share the glow of Christ. When the world around us tempts us to imitate its nature, the call of God declares in defiance be alien.
You’ve Been Changed
Another way to consider being an alien is to be holy. To be holy is simply to be set apart or dedicated to God. When a person is saved, they are immediately made holy. This person is taken from the domain of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of light (Colossians 1:13). Now you have been made holy, the next step is to be holy. This is the message proclaimed by the apostle Peter to the Christian exiles in the first century (1 Peter 1:1). Like the early Christians, we can be tempted to deviate from our new nature because of the various trials that we face. When times are hard, we can be drawn to one of two extremes: either trust in our good works to prove our holiness or discarding holiness altogether and swimming with the current of whatever culture deems acceptable. But there’s another way, a better way that Peter presents to us. Before any call to holiness, Peter reminds us that we are holy already (1 Peter 1:1-2, 3-5). Peter lets us know we aren’t trying to become holy, instead we are called to live out who we already are (1 Peter 1:13-14). The impetus behind our holiness is not our actions but Christ’s
Dare to be different
The temptation to conform is all around us. It can seem like a never-ending bombardment of ungodliness that seeks to penetrate our minds to tell us “Holiness is impossible”. And yet, Peter quickly dismisses this notion by repeating what God first told the Israelites on their pilgrimage to the promised land, “Be holy” (Leviticus 20:7; 1 Peter 1:16). Or in other words, be alien. This is not a call to be different for the sake of being different. Instead, it is a call to fulfil what we were created for; to spread the fragrance of God’s glory anywhere we may find ourselves (Genesis 1:26-28, Psalm 8, 2 Corinthians 2:14-15). To be an alien is to be so consumed by the glory of God that it impacts every part of your being. This may mean that you don’t watch certain shows or go to certain events. But it does mean that as you go out into the world people should be able to say of you “…these people have been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).