The author of Hebrews is still writing about Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But as he writes, his words have a double meaning. That is because he is constantly thinking about Christians and their relationship with God. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob lived in the country that God had promised to them. But that promise was for the future. So during their whole lives, they lived as foreigners in that country. They lived in tents because they had no permanent home there.
Christians are like that. God has promised them that, in the future, the world will be theirs (Matthew 5:5). Until that happens, they live as strangers in this world (1 Peter 2:11). In other words, they cannot enjoy all the things that people in this world enjoy. They cannot behave as people in this world often behave. That is because of Godís rule in their lives. It is as if they are citizens of a foreign country. In fact, they really are citizens of another country (1 Peter 2:9-10). It is the country that God is establishing. Jesus called it Ďthe kingdom of Godí. That means the country that God rules as king. And in the future, that kingdom will rule the whole world.
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob called themselves strangers and travellers (Genesis 23:4; Genesis 47:9). People who intend a country to be their permanent home do not use such words to describe themselves. So clearly, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were searching for the place that would become their permanent home. They trusted Godís promises to them. So they believed that place existed. And that is faith.
Christians must have faith, too. Like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Christians do not know how God will carry out his promises to them. But they trust God. Although in this world they are merely strangers and travellers, God has prepared a place for them (John 14:2). Their permanent home will be a wonderful place, because it is a place in Godís house (Psalm 84). And there, they will always live (Psalm 23:6).
Next part: Citizens of heaven (Hebrews 11:15)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.