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by Alan Allegra
6/08/2015 / Christian Living
"Nanu Nanu!" "nuqneH." If those alien-sounding words stump you, you're a victim of exolinguistics. If that word is alien to you, it's just another word for xenolinguistics, also called astrolinguistics. If you understood the first pair, you're a fan of Mork from Ork. Catch the second word, and Klingon is your native tongue and Star Trek your favorite show. Those other fancy words refer to the study of alien languages, a tough discipline since no aliens have ever been discovered. This was just my long-winded way of saying "Hello!"
Actually, no space aliens have been discovered but you probably know there are millions of illegal aliens in the United States. These are residents of other nations who have no legal right to live here. They sneaked in and dwell among us.
Another class of aliens lives all around the world, welcome in some places but disliked in most places. They look and sound like the people among whom they live but are inwardly unlike most humans. They are not pod people or extraterrestrial visitors with three eyes, green blood, and pointy ears -- they are people who have been born again and have new hearts.
The bible refers to believers as aliens in this world. Peter addressed his first letter "To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia" (1 Peter 1:1, NASB). Jesus explains why his followers are aliens: "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world" (John 17:16). Jesus came as a stranger from another place, and his followers -- although born in this world -- are granted citizenship in Jesus' kingdom: "For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Philippians 3:20). Although Christians live in this world, they are citizens of another country.
Aliens are often unwelcome in their new land, and Christians are made to feel uncomfortable among other residents. Jesus warned of this, saying, "If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you" (John 15:19).
The world dislikes believers because they live different from most people: "Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul" (1 Peter 2:11). People with strange habits and values are feared and distrusted. "For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you" (1 Peter 4:3-4). Christians should not participate in the sinful customs of the world, and their pure behavior makes sinners uncomfortable. Some would rather Christians disappear or go back to whence they came.
Unlike illegal aliens, believers have every right to be in this world. In fact, we are going to own it someday! Jesus said, "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth" (Matthew 5:5, KJV). God purchased people to populate the new heavens and earth: "Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth" (Revelation 5:9-10). Notice these aliens consist of people "from every tribe and tongue and people and nation"! This will be the most diverse population imaginable, all getting along perfectly! We will be home in our own land, and "He will swallow up death for all time, And the Lord God will wipe tears away from all faces, And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth" (Isaiah 25:8).
We are illegal aliens to the world but God commissioned us here to populate his kingdom: "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations" (Matthew 28:19). Nanu nanu!
Alan is Content Coordinator for Lifestyles Over 50 (Thrive Media) and contributor to the Allentown, PA, Morning Call. He is also an adult Sunday school teacher and Bible study leader. Passionate about reviving theology and church methodology, and being a senior citizen!
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