Christians don't belong in this world; they live for another time and another place. They are pilgrims--foreigners. And, like foreigners in the past and in the present, they are generally misunderstood and persecuted.
The group of English Puritans who fled religious persecution and sailed in the Mayflower to found the colony of Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620 were called pilgrims. Their desire for religious freedom enabled them to leave all that was familiar and to embrace a long and tedious journey to the unknown that lay before them.
Peter uses the word pilgrim to describe first century believers who, as a result of persecution, live in lands other than those of their birth: "To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:1-2). He reminds them that theirs is an eternal inheritance, not a temporal inheritance: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you" (1:3-4). Pilgrims, therefore, live differently from those around them. They wear a target on their back. They are persecuted.
Peter's address to persecuted Christ-followers reminds believers of several helpful truths about persecution:
Pilgrims embrace the hardship that occurs as they journey toward that eternal city, whose builder and maker is God.
Summarize the instructions given by the writer of Hebrews at the end of his letter.
How do those instructions compare with those given by Peter in 1 Peter 1:22-2:3?
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