To the great consternation of Satan, Jesus was taking people from his dark kingdoms and building His kingdom of light and righteousness. Jesus was destroying the darkness that had invaded His creation, using the very people who had once been a part of that darkness. Now they were citizens of the kingdom of God living as aliens among the kingdoms of this world and bringing light to dark places.
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. (2:11–12)
Think about it. Every nation in the world has citizens from another nation, a holy nation, living in their midst.
Peter’s fellow Apostle, Paul, called these holy citizens “ambassadors for Christ.” They are emissaries for their King in the earthly nations that Satan had offered Jesus. “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us” (2 Cor. 5:20). Those who had been born in rebellion against God to Satan’s great joy were now happily speaking on behalf of God’s mercy and grace, crying out to lost and hurting people: “Be reconciled to God.”
In 1972, my late wife, Janet, and I spent two weeks driving through Mexico with two friends. It was my first visit to a foreign country. Every day I felt some discomfort because I was constantly aware that I was an alien. That is how we sometimes feel as Christians even in the United States. We love our country. We love our history and our constitution, but we don’t feel at home in our secular culture. The social mores of our society anchored in materialism, sexual immorality, intellectual elitism, self-centered pride, postmodern cynicism, idolatry, and atheism remind us that we are indeed aliens whose citizenship is in the kingdom of Jesus Christ. We are humbled as we were once willing participants in that ungodly culture, having been rescued only by the grace of God. We are compelled by that grace to be ambassadors who bring the light of the gospel into the darkness. Yet, all the while we live as aliens with a joy, knowing we are pilgrims on our way home.