Saturday, October 8, 2016

A New Name

After a lifetime of reading the Word, I have heard myself being called both sinner and saint.  Sinner is the name given to me at birth and saint is the one which came to me later by grace through the cross.  As I have read the Word, I have also heard myself being referred to as a smelly sheep and a branch on the vine.  And, along with you and others I have heard Jesus speaking saying, "You are the light of the world,"  and "You are the salt of the earth."  (Matthew 5:13, 14)  But, the other day while reading the 39th Psalm, I found a new name.  It was one about which I had never thought.
In verse 12 of that chapter, the Word says, "For I am your passing guest, an alien, like all my forebears."  Think for a moment what it means to be a passing guest of the Lord.  A guest owns nothing, but is dependent on the hospitality of the host.  And so we travel through this life.  We think we own houses, cars, bank accounts, wardrobes, retirements, devices that give us the illusion of being in touch and in control.  The truth is we have nothing.  Naked we are born in this world and no matter how much we see ourselves carrying in our hands as we travel through this life, naked shall we go.  A passing guest is not even family, but an outsider and one who does not belong.

Of course, this is exactly where the word "alien" takes us.  Ephesians 3:12 tells us, "...remember that you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenant of promise, having no hope and without God in the world."  Certainly, the New Testament says we are sons and daughter, heirs to the kingdom, and that we belong to God, but before all of this is transacted for us through grace and mercy, we are those who do not belong.  The alien status is only temporary. Grace changes it.  But, we are born to be a passing guest in this world which our lifestyle often proclaims we have forgotten.

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