Read this first: To This You Have Been Called
1. Sojourners, from the Greek word paroikos: dwelling near, neighboring, a stranger, a foreigner, one who lives in a place without the right of citizenship
2. Exiles, from the Greek word parepidēmos: one who comes from a foreign country into a city or land to reside there by the side of the natives, a stranger, sojourning in a strange place, a foreigner
Having reminded the redeemed readers of this Epistle of their special status as “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession,” and the reason for this separation: “that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9), Peter goes on to underscore the reality that we are in this world also “as paroikos and parepidēmos” – strangers twice over. Though “a chosen race”, in this world we now live as people without citizenship, as foreigners in a strange place.
Just as Paul tells us “do not be conformed to this world” (Romans 12:2), Peter reminds us that we are “a holy nation”(2:9) “since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy”” (1 Peter 1:16). The separation is absolute and it is real because “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world–the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions–is not from the Father but is from the world. (1 John 2:15-16) The works of the world are evil (John 7:7) and to this we must live as aliens.
We are exiles in this world that we “may proclaim (Greek exaggellō, to declare, make known, celebrate) the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (2:9). In other words, “We are ambassadors for Christ” and it is through us that God makes his appeal to the rest of the world (2 Cor 5:20). What an awesome joy! What an awesome responsibility! If then we live not “as paroikos and parepidēmos”, how will those who are lost and dying know of “his marvelous light”? This is why the Master said of His followers:
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.(Matthew 5:14-16)
Finally, we now live in this world as sojourners and exiles because “…our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself” (Philippians 3:20-21).