“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” (Hebrews 11:13, AV)
The longer I live and see the moral degradation of our culture, the more I realize how much of a stranger I am in this land. This land is not my home. It is my temporary assignment as and ambassador of the Lord, I serve as a citizen of heaven.
I currently serve God in a divided country. It is one with an ideological divide. These ideologies have always existed. There has always been a group that held to moral relativism, meaning that there was no absolute truth. This is a group that denies the validity and authority of the Scripture. Yet, I never thought that this humanistic ideology would encompass half of our nations populace and continue to grow. As a believer in Christ and one who stands firm on the infallibility and immutability of God’s word, I am increasingly understanding what it means to be a stranger and alien in this world.
We all, myself included, could take a lesson from the heroes of the faith. They pressed on in their time as strangers and aliens by faith. They could not see their heavenly destination with human eyes, but they saw a better place for which they longed by faith. They believed that God existed and trusted in His promise. They endeavored to follow His leading and their hope was in a better place, a city whose foundation and builder was the Lord.
The heroes of the faith continued to pursue the path of righteousness. No, they were not perfect, but they persisted in their pursuit of God with a vision of a better place. They did not quit and return to their former ways (v15). This is a mark of true faith. Those of true faith pursue God and His immutable word without falling back. They make it through this life victoriously by faith. This is the message that the author of Hebrews is communicating to his Jewish audience and it is just as valid for us today.
In the midst of trying times, we need to put one foot in front of the other and keep in step with the Lord. He is leading us on the true path of righteousness. We can understand it by reading and studying His word. However, we must not just understand the right path, we must also by faith walk on it. The heroes of the faith did so as an example for us. Are you discouraged today? Pursue the righteousness of God. Do you feel like a stranger and alien in the world? Continue on the path of righteousness. Do others see you as weird because you are pursuing God? Then you know that you are on the right track.
Look at what the writer states about the heroes of the faith who stayed the course. “God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.” (Hebrews 11:16b, AV) Earlier the writer stated that without faith it is impossible to please God. Those of true faith keep their spiritual eyes on their heavenly home, walking by faith and God is pleased with them.