Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ...
...Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
Ephesians 2:11-13, 19-22
History and Context:
For a short history on the book of Ephesians go to Sunday's post. Ephesus was one of the major trade centers in the New Testament world, for that reason there were many nations travelling through this city. This was why so much of the New Testament concerned Ephesus.
Because Ephesus was one of the main trade routes, the people of Ephesus knew what it was like to be strangers and foreigners. For this reason Paul uses this analogy to describe salvation. The covenant promise at first only belonged to Israel and the Gentiles (non-Jews) were aliens and foreigners to the covenant. But through Christ we have been made fellow citizens in the kingdom of God. All saints, all Christians, are citizens of the same kingdom. This kingdom is being built on the foundation laid by the apostles and prophets and we are continuing to work together to build this kingdom.
The implied message is that now that we are fellow citizens to the kingdom of God, we are now aliens and strangers to this world's kingdom. The kingdoms are opposites and we cannot be citizens of both. Jesus said that we are not of this world and we shouldn't act like we are. Understand that you are an alien to this world's system, you are a citizen of the kingdom of God. This is why, if you follow God's way for your life, people will often not understand. Because you are in a different culture, you do things differently. Keep doing it differently no matter what the world says. Follow the way that your kingdom does it not the way that the world's kingdom does it.
Lord, thank you for making me a citizen of your kingdom! Help me, Lord, to act according to your culture and not the culture of this world. Help me to not be influenced by the culture that surrounds me, but help me to influence it and bring them to your kingdom. In Jesus' name, Amen!