If you are a Christian you are a refugee from a dying world order. So we are told by the writer of the epistle of the Hebrews. The Apostle Paul speaks of Christ as “entering the world to rescue sinners,” and Peter speaks of us as “strangers and temporary residents” (Heb. 6:18; 1 Tim. 1:15; 1 Pet. 2:11, Phillips).

We are refugees because our hope is not in anything this world has to offer. We are refugees because we have escaped from the wrath to come into the peace and hope to be found in Christ Jesus and nowhere else. We are refugees because this world order stands under the judgment of God for its sins and for its rejection of his Son.

We are in this world but not of it, seeing beyond the horizon of the present life to a city God has prepared for those who believe. Our citizenship is in heaven, and our fellowship is with those of like faith.

It is desperately important that we recognize our position as refugees. A refugee is fleeing from danger, but he also has a place to go. The danger is God’s impending judgment on a world that has willfully rejected him. The danger from which we have fled is God’s holy wrath against sin and sinners. The refuge that is ours is the safety of the loving mercy and forgiveness of the Son of God, who came into this world for the specific purpose that man “should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Across the visible church, there is heard the call to “identify” with the world. “Identification” in the sense of a saved sinner’s pleading with lost sinners is desperately needed. But identification with the ways of the world is deadly. A physician does not willfully contract the diseases of those he is called to treat. Rather, he seeks to deliver his patients from their sickness.

The Apostle ...

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