The subject of pilgrimage in lieu of believers has been scarcely heard or has almost never been regarded at all in the life of Christians today. In fact, it is a very important theme, because it contains the principal teaching that must be understood by every believer. This happens because many Christians as individuals and as a community in church have been lost in the romance of the world and live in uniformity like other human beings. Many Christians do not realize that they are not of this world, as stated by Lord Jesus.1 Paul wrote that our citizenship is in heaven, and we also await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.2
From childhood many people have been educated to have the paradigm of the world’s children. They feel that the world is the only opportunity and the place for human beings to enjoy. They think that there is no other life than that on earth. Thus they are not expecting any other better life. This way of thinking also exists in the lives of many Christians. If this paradigm is not changed, then they will be imprisoned in this world till entering the lake of fire. They will not be lifted up by the Lord at the moment of rapture at end of time.
Christians as mentioned above also do not want to lose the opportunity to enjoy the world as much as possible. For the sake of enjoying this world they are willing to sacrifice everything. Even one’s fellowship to God is not noticed properly. People like these are not eager to have faith or spiritual journey (pilgrimage). These are the people who “feel at home” living on earth and are reluctant to be exiled. Basically they are like the people of Noah’s day who refused to enter the ark or like the people of Sodom and Gomorrah who refused to leave their city which was about to be destroyed by God. Christians who do not experience this spiritual journey are like the Israelites who were always tied to the Egyptians, so that they were overthrown in the wilderness and they never stepped on the picturesque land of Canaan.
The apostle Peter said that believers on earth are “foreigners and exiles”.3 The word foreigner in the original text is paroikos (πάροικος) which means a stranger or a foreigner (a person from outside the region or country). The word paroikos in its broadest context refers to one who lives in an area with no rights as citizens. Peter also used the term paroikos in 1 Peter 1:17; that believers are those who live as temporary residents on this earth. While the word exile in the original text is parepidemos (παρεπίδημος) which means a pilgrim, that is, one who is on a journey, does not settle yet in an area because he is heading to a particular place. The apostle Peter used the illustration of foreigners and those living temporarily on earth to demonstrate clearly the position of believers in the midst of the world wherever and whenever.
Due to scarcity or absence of the news about believers’ pilgrimage, then it is very likely that many Christians are unfamiliar or even view this matter of sojournment as bizarre. This happens because it has been too long Christians do not hear this teaching. If believers do not understand this subject matter, it is hard for them to become spiritual believers. Believers’ relocations into the Kingdom of Heaven do not start later after death, but it must be started now while on earth. One who does not live as a pilgrim and displace his heart to the Kingdom of Heaven will not have treasure in the Kingdom of Heaven. This means he will not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. The news echo must begin now, every ear should hear, every eye opens and every heart is touched so that the misguided path is returned to the right route towards the Kingdom of Heaven. Next let us start learning to live as a pilgrim in this world. Without having a correct spirit of pilgrimage, one has never had faith like Abraham, meaning that he has not had a true belief in the Lord Jesus.
1) John 17:16; 2) Philippians 3:20; 3) 1 Peter 2:11