E-Pilgrims & E-Sojourners

“Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul” (1Pet.2:1.)*

In navigating the brave new world of the Internet, Christians must remember their identity before God. The Scripture above describes them as “sojourners and pilgrims”: two terms that set them apart from the rest of humanity, as well as placing significant responsibilities on them.

Believers are sojourners in the sense that this world is not their permanent home. The Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross to purchase them and so their lives are no longer their own (1 Cor. 6:20.) Instead, they have been called out from the world to live differently from the masses all around who are time-bound and earth-bound with no hope of eternal life with God.

The term “pilgrims” emphasizes that they are going to another land. Like Abraham who left the establishment of the fertile crescent for the strict nomadic existence of dwelling in an impermanent structure. The symbols of the patriarch’s life were the tent and the altar. A tent declared that this was not their final dwelling. While the altar demonstrated their focus upon the eternal God who called them to share His life – beginning in this world but also extending into the age to come (Heb. 11:8-10; 13-16.)

The onset of the information age, with its flagship the world-wide-web, does not change the character and calling of believers. They cannot settle down into this new digital world and be entirely comfortable, as if this is their home. They must use email, social networks, blogs, websites, and other exciting technological advances in a way that glorifies God.

Someday people will power down their e-devices for the final time and enter eternity. These modern tools ought to be used to bear witness to Christ’s gospel, as well as for the edification of His people. As in the real world, Christians must steer clear of that which defiles on the web; instead using the easily accessible information to think on things that are pure (Phil. 4:8.) They must also use mass communication tools to propagate the good news that Christ died on the cross for our sins according to the Scriptures and that He was raised from the dead according to those same Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:1-4.)

Believers must approach the web with stewardship in mind. E-commerce ought not to become an excuse for covetousness and materialistic indulgence. What is more, they must be responsible stewards of the time that God has given them. As Ephesians 5:16 says: “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. A well-timed email can brighten a fellow-Christian’s day. Likewise, a timely Scripture posted on one’s Facebook page can turn another’s thoughts toward eternity.

The numerous Bible study websites and pages with millions of public domain volumes can be carefully used to augment our personal Bible study, while also gleaning excellent illustrations of God’s truth from different resources on the web. In short, the web is what you make of it: be an e-sojourner and an e-pilgrim!

 


 *Unless otherwise noted, all Scriptures are cited from the New King James Version.

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