The Expository Files

Sojourners and Pilgrims

1 Peter 2:11,12

Christians are sojourners and pilgrims. Both of these terms convey the idea of strangers who abide with those who are different and strange to them. The term pilgrim connotes the idea, contained in. both terms, more forcibly of one who is seeking a destination other than upon this earth. Abraham, Sarah, Isaac and Jacob confessed they were strangers and pilgrims who were seeking after a country of their own. Inspiration teaches God's children likewise to be sojourners and pilgrims in their attitude and disposition of life. They are strangers to this strange world by virtue of their new spiritual  birth. Morally and spiritually they are different from the world in which they now live. As they think the world strange, so the world thinks them strange because they will not run into the same excess of riot in sin with them. God's sojourners and pilgrims also look for the city which hath the foundations whose builder and maker is God for their citizenship is in heaven where Christ is. As such their minds are on the things above where Christ is and not on the things on the earth. Contrary to those among whom they dwell they do not mind earthly things. Since they plan to spend eternity in the  everlasting kingdom they lay up their treasures in heaven and not the earth."

"Abstain from Fleshly Lusts"

The sojourner is so wholeheartedly intent upon that other land, his destination, he will not be distracted nor deterred from the goal by the powerful allurements of this age. For that reason, in obedience to the divine behest, he will "abstain from fleshly lusts." Fleshly lust are those among desires which are common to humanity which when they are fulfilled are sin. Of all human desires some are lawful and necessary to the person's well being; others are sinful. From these latter he must abstain because they war against the soul. This conflict is not just a single encounter with the enemy but it is a whole war. The terrible intent of the devil is to destroy man's soul in eternal punishment. He desperately pushes every phase of every campaign with every means at his command. One of these means is fleshly lusts. Such fleshly lusts as fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, drunkenness, revellings, and such like which so strongly characterize this age, war against and bring to ruin the soul of the pilgrim. They lead him away from his other-world destination; they make him forget. The believer that values his soul will do every thing in his power to avoid being ensnared in such sins. He will avoid those things that might lead him closer to these sins. There is so much in so much of what one encounters today that can lead astray. Filthy publications, pornographic material, the greater emphasis upon the fleshly in movies and T. V., etc. Social dancing and indecency in dress and the taking of intoxicants. All such things that are so powerful in promoting fleshly lusts should be avoided by the sincere member of the church. He will war just as desperately against fleshly lusts as the fleshly lusts war against his soul.

"Behaviour Seemly"

Seemly behaviour must be maintained by the true follower of Jesus. Good behaviour is its own justification. Men should be righteous in conduct because it is right to be so. But the pilgrim and sojourner has an additional reason for seemly behaviour. He has an obligation to these among shiners who behold his conduct. The possible effects of his behaviour are two in number. Unseemly conduct can justify the evil-speaking of the sinner so prone to malign the good life. It is tragically terrible when a Christian proves the criticism of the sinner to be right. It can cause his and the souls of
others to be forever lost.

On the other hand the life of seemly behaviour can cause the sinner to glorify God in the day of visitation when he beholds his good works. The good life has a potent influence in leading the lost to the saving word. A life alone cannot within itself save. Else all would be saved who contact a good
life. But the life of seemly behaviour can arrest the attention of the sinner and direct him to the word by which Christ can save him.

By Stanley J. Lovett
March 1961 Preceptor
From Expository Files 10.1; January 2003