“I am a stranger in the earth…” (Psalms 119:19a)
Why would the Psalmist make such a statement as this? How could a human being be a stranger on the planet earth, since God created the earth as having the necessary environment to sustain life?
The answer lies, not in the physical application, but in the spiritual application. The Psalmist was speaking as a Child of God. Therefore, as a Child of God, the definition of “home” had changed.
Home is not a dwelling; for a dwelling is a house, or the structure in which a home may dwell. Home in the general application is not a place, but an attitude. Home is where there is unity, fellowship, safety, satisfaction, and completion.
For a Child of God, the earth is not his home. Earth is the place of his pilgrimage; the place of learning the Ways and Will of God; the place of being conformed to God. Earth, in its wicked philosophy, is the darkness that reveals the Beauty of the Light to the Child of God.
After the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, man was brought into spiritual death (or separation from God). (See Romans 6:23a; 5:12; 1 Corinthians 15:21; Ephesians 2:1-3.) This means that man is born dead in trespasses and sin. His motives, goals, etc. until Regeneration by the Spirit, is to fulfill the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (Ephesians 2:3; 1 John 2:15-17).
But once a man receives a new nature in Regeneration, his “old man” nature, “…which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts” (Ephesians 4:22c), is replaced by the “new man” nature, “…which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:24b).
This replacement of the old man with the new man changes his attitude, actions, and attire by 180 degrees. He rejects the old man and his ways of sin. He begins to walk in the ways of the new man; in righteousness, holiness, and peace.
When this experience of conversion takes place in his life, then this world, and its lusts of the flesh and eyes, and its pride become offensive to him. In fact he hates sin and its harvest. He knows this earth is not his home. He is like Moses and Abraham:
“Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.” (Hebrews 11:26-27)
“…confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country… But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly…” (Hebrews 11:13-16)
The converted Child of God is never, ever again satisfied with this world and its philosophy.
Even though he is now regenerated and he knows that Christ dwells in him; even though he knows he is in the Body of Christ, the Hope of Glory; even though he is under the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit and is an overcomer in the Power and Victory of the risen Christ – he is still not home until physical death occurs. Then he receives his new body and is in the very presence of Christ in the Spirit realm.
Until that time, the Child of God is a “stranger in the earth.” His plea is, as was the Psalmist’s, “hide not thy commandments from me” (Psalms 119:19b). Or: ‘Lord, reveal Truth to me; for Your Word is more that my necessary food.’ The converted Child of God cannot live on this earth by bread alone, but “…by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live” (Deuteronomy 8:3c-d).
The Child of God is in this world, but not of this world. He is a stranger and a pilgrim passing though; for this is not his “home.” His “home” is “in Christ.” Which is as to:
- Position: One that is reconciled, redeemed, and justified (or declared righteous). He is now an adult son of God, whereby he knows of this position by experience.
- Possession: This experience comes to him in Regeneration; whereby he is given a new nature, made a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17). He is given a new will to follow Holiness and Peace; a new walk of love, even as Christ walked. He is given an internal witness that he is now the Temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16; Ephesians 2:19-22; Romans 8:14-16). And as such, he is to glorify God in his body and spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). He is to walk as Christ walked (1 John 2:4-6).
- Place: By the conversion experience, he knows he has been baptized into the Body of Christ; he is now a member of His Body (1 Corinthians 12:13, 27). He now understands, being in Christ and Christ in him, that he is now One in Christ, and has been brought to where Christ is, to behold the Glory of God (John 17:21-24). This is a Position of Knowledge of Oneness in Christ; which is one of Perfection, Preeminence, Perception, and Power; and the Position of Love. This is the Place of Rest in Christ.
As the Child of God sojourns in his earthly pilgrimage, being given this knowledge of his Position, Possession, and Place is by faith:
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
But one day, it will be in the Presence of Faith Himself, Jesus Christ. And then he will be home. Hallelujah!!