An enclave is a portion of territory within or surrounded by a larger territory whose inhabitants are culturally or ethnically distinct.
Sometimes an independent state can be an enclave—such as Vatican City and San Marino in Italy.
In some rare cases, there can be an enclave within an enclave, i.e., a counter-enclave. Probably, the most notable examples of this were along the India-Bangladesh border before June 2015. For instance, within the boundaries of Bangladesh were 102 enclaves of Indian territories. And within 21 of these Indian enclaves were Bangladeshi counter-enclaves. This meant that many Bangladeshis lived as strangers in their own country—surrounded by an enclave of foreigners in foreign territory.
Yet at any time, those Bangladeshis could rightfully say, “Though I’m a foreigner in this little enclave, beyond the borders of this strange world is a far greater world of which I am a citizen. Therefore, I will not be intimidated by the little foreign territory that surrounds me, nor will I conform to its culture. For, my true country is far greater and encompasses this little foreign land. One day, this little foreign territory that surrounds me will pass away, and I will be reunited with the world to which I belong.” And that’s precisely what happened. In June 2015, all of those Indian enclaves within Bangladesh and all of those Bangladesh enclaves within India disappeared.
The Christian Enclave
You know, all true believers in Jesus Christ constitute a counter-enclave. They must live within the enclave of the world—that sinful, rebellious dominion that is hostile to God and His laws. Believers try to band together for mutual support and encouragement. But the sinful world which surrounds them is oppressive to them. They, in effect, constitute “the Kingdom of God” within “the kingdom of sin.” And although the kingdom of sin continually pressures us to conform to its perverse ways, we must resist this pressure, for “friendship with the world (that kingdom of sin) is hostility toward God” (James 4:4). We must never renounce our true citizenship, “for our citizenship is in heaven, from where we await a Savior, Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:20).
The Coming Kingdom
And we must never forget that this “kingdom of sin” is only a small and frail enclave of evil within the greater Kingdom of God, wherein God reigns supreme in righteousness. And this “kingdom of sin” is passing away. Additionally, all those in rebellion against God, who claim the kingdom of sin as their home, will become the strangers and aliens. They will face the terrible dilemma of being completely out of place in heaven, yet unprepared for hell, while the righteous will be reunited with their true homeland.
So never renounce your heavenly citizenship. Christ will soon appear from heaven. He will transform our ragged and sin-damaged bodies so that they are just like His glorious body. And Christ will bring to an end the dominion of evil. “The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will remove from his Kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. And the angels will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s Kingdom” (Matt. 13:41–43, NLT).
Dear Father in heaven, help me to renounce the evil things of this world and help me occupy myself in preparing for eternity—by becoming more and more like Christ and by taking as many with me to heaven as I can. Amen.