Is This World Not Our Home?

Updated: Feb 25

As a follower of Christ, you have likely heard the phrase, this world is not our home or simply this is not our home. Maybe you've heard it while listening to Contemporary Christian music, or maybe you've heard it from your Pastor in a sermon. It seems to be a widely accepted phrase among Christians these days, so it may not seem like a surprise that you've heard it and maybe you even agreed with it. There's obviously no shame in believing that life in heaven will be infinitely better compared to life on earth. In fact, it is necessary for believers to have hope in our future home with the Lord. We should be constantly rejoicing that one day, we'll get to meet Jesus face to face and spend eternity with Him. That is a Biblical concept that is not up for debate. However, the question that needs answering is... is this world not our home?

This life on earth is temporary

I understand what believers mean, when they say this world is not our home. In one sense they are absolutely correct. Our permanent home is in heaven with Jesus, and we do not belong to the system of this world (or sin). But when people hear the word world, are they hearing the system of this world or are they hearing the physical earth? While the context of the word world in this phrase may be obvious to some, it may not be so clear to others. The word home is simply defined as one's place of residence. It would be easy for a new believer, for example, to associate home with our life on earth. We must consider how many times the word world is used in the Bible, and how many different meanings it has depending on the context. A misunderstanding of this phrase could lead believers to lose focus on their mission here on the earth. The same is true if we simply say this is not our home. Instead of actually fulfilling the Great Commission and the Great Commandment, some believers might start to think that they don't have responsibilities on the earth. Holding the belief that they do not belong on the earth could lead to apathy, depression, and even hate towards other people. If believers have the mindset that this earth is not our home, they could easily slip into believing that this life doesn't matter.

Maybe this scenario seems unrealistic to you, but I've seen it happen. I've witnessed believers who say this world is not their home, who have given up on living out the Great Commission. They have become numb to the world around them because life on the earth is not important to them. The original translation of the Bible does not include the phrase this world is not our home. This phrase seems to be a bit of a mashup of multiple Biblical principles, likely coming from at least a couple different verses. In Hebrews 13:14, God's Word declares, For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. There are three main ideas that we ought to grasp from this specific verse...

  1. This life on earth is temporary

  2. We look forward to meeting Jesus face to face

  3. We are better prepared to face trials when we maintain an eternal perspective on life

The Living Bible Translation has slightly changed the wording from the original text to read For this world is not our home; we are looking forward to our everlasting home in heaven. This translation seems to be a slight overstatement of the original text, as it has changed the text from "this world is not my permanent home" to "this world is not my home". Did you catch the difference there? I think it is worth noting. God has made it clear in His Word that life on the earth is temporary, while life after death is everlasting. And He has made it clear that our life to come in heaven will be much greater than anything we know on the earth. His Word tells us that this life on this earth is temporary and it tells us that we don't belong to the world system. Life on earth = temporary home, life in heaven = permanent home. You are likely well aware that the Apostle Paul stated that "our citizenship is in heaven" (Philippians 3:20). But are you also aware that even Paul himself recognized his citizenship as a Roman citizen (Acts 22:25-28)?

This world system is not our home

In 1 John 2:15, God's Word declares, Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. The actual meaning of this verse is dealing with the topic of the ungodly world system or sinful things in the world. Notice the next two verses (1 John 2:16-17)... 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. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. The word world here is describing sinful desires, a lust for sinful things, and the sinful world system. In other words, sin is not our home. The world system, which wars against God, is not our home. Of course, we must not worship the earth, but these verses are not intended to teach us that the earth is not our home. They are designed to teach us that we should not love sin or sinful things, and that God must be our first love.

God created us and placed us on the earth in order to bring Him glory. This life on earth is no accident. God created the earth (Genesis 1:1). God created humans and placed us on the earth (Genesis 1:27). Yes, when sin entered the world, life here was changed forever. And it is true that in light of eternity, the duration of our lifetime is only a small blip on the radar by comparison. But that doesn't mean that this life on earth is insignificant or unimportant, which is what some believers might hear when we use the phrase this world is not our home. Using this phrase without clarity could also lead unbelievers to speculate that Christians don't care about this life, but only about getting to heaven. While in one sense this world (the worlds system) is not our home, in another sense this world (the earth) is our home. Since we have this understanding, it might be helpful to offer the specific context when we use this phrase.

We can have the perspective that we are citizens of heaven and the earth (Matthew 6:10). It's not one or the other. It's both! We have dual citizenship! This is what Paul meant when he said to live is Christ and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21). When we say that this world is not our home, we might be unintentionally conveying that we don't belong on the earth. Since we are commanded to go and make disciples, then we do belong on the earth for the time He has allotted to us. We belong in heaven when God takes us, and until that day, we must maintain a heavenly perspective on the earth, living this life to His glory. Yes, this life is temporary. Yes, we are viewed as foreigners (or pilgrims) by unbelievers. Yes, we will be hated by the world because we love Jesus. Yes, we will be much better off in heaven. But we have responsibilities in this life. We are on mission, with direct orders from our King to go and make disciples.

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