Saturday, July 28, 2007

Illegal immigration and Christians

Tonight is my second post directly answering the specific question: “What if someone is starving and destitute? As Christians, I thought we live by a higher law and that we see other people through the eyes of God, not through the eyes of any sort of nationalism.”

After I finish the immigration posts, I will do the Creationism posts as also stated earlier. I will deal with each comment received in the order that I received them. Then, I plan to answer the response about Iraq. Thank you for your understanding and patience.

How many unborn toddlers were murdered today because of the humanistic, paganish, barbaric decisions of the United States Supreme Court?

Stop the
Murder of

“Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” James 4: 17 (NIV)

Repeating some of what I last posted. To answer the above question, I think it is important to divide it into two segments—the appropriate response by government and the appropriate response by Christians. Tonight is the appropriate response by Christians.

I am not certain what is meant by “through the eyes of God.” I am going to define that phrase as through the WORD of GOD as given in the Bible. Of necessity then, my response is based upon my understanding of the WORD of GOD. Others may disagree with my understanding of what the Bible says. I can’t control that; I can only attempt to answer based upon my understanding.
I don’t intend to give what I want the Bible to say but rather what I understand it to say. In my opinion, just as the Supreme Court over the last 40 plus years has disregarded what the Constitution says, many people today try to reinterpret the Bible based upon their desires not upon what the Bible actually says. I have read articles written by so-called ministers who declared that the Bible is wrong in certain areas. I don’t believe we have the right to rewrite the Bible to serve our desires or to declare sections we don’t approve of as being wrong.

Tonight’s post will deal with the appropriate response of Christians:

First, as I stated in the last post, I know of no place in the Bible where we, as Christians, are told to delegate our responsibility to serve GOD to the government. The primary, first responsibility of any government is to protect its own people. That is why governments were created and exist. In contrast, Christians’ primary, first responsibility is not to serve man including caring for the starving and destitute. We are to do that, but it is not our first responsibility. Our primary, first responsibility is to love and serve GOD.

When JESUS was asked to identify the greatest commandment in the Law, “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest command. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commands.’” [Matthew 22: 37-40 (NIV)] Jesus also said “‘If you love me, you will obey what I command.’” [John 14: 15 (NIV)] The apostle John wrote in I John 5: 3a (NIV), “This is love for God: to obey his commands.”

What is the most important event in a person’s life? Is it getting married? Is it having children? Is it having a successful career? Is it having wealth? Is it having the necessities of life? Is it avoiding starvation and being destitute? Is it having health? Is it being born in the first place? I don’t think so. I would say the must important event in anyone’s life is becoming a Christian.

The Bible clearly teaches that at the end of our physical life there will only be two groups of people—those who are Christians who have been obedient to GOD and those who are not. Christians are guaranteed eternal life. Those who are not are guaranteed eternal punishment. People may not like that. People may not agree with that. However, that is what the Bible—the WORD of GOD—clearly proclaims.

Therefore, if we really love our neighbor as ourselves, if we really love GOD, we will “‘Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holly Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.’” [Matthew 28: 19-20a (NIV)] We show our love for others by teaching them the WORD of GOD and making disciples of them. We can not make them become Christians. That choice can only be made by each person. Our primary responsibility to people, as we serve and love GOD, is to give them an opportunity to know the TRUTH. Our primary responsibility to people is to give them an opportunity to accept or reject GOD, JESUS the CHRIST, and the HOLY SPIRIT. Does it seem strange that GOD would allow us to reject HIM?

Does that relieve us of the responsibility to help others? No. Our first responsibility is to teach people the TRUTH about GOD, JESUS the CHRIST, and the HOLY SPIRIT. However, that is not our only responsibility. The apostle Paul writes “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” [Galatians 6: 10 (NIV)] Notice though that there is an order to what we, as Christians, are commanded to do. First, is to teach others about GOD. This is an obvious necessity. How can people be expected to repent, turn away from their sinful life, and turn to GOD if they are not taught the TRUTH? Next, we are to do good especially to fellow Christians. Then, we are to do good to all people.

Now, the question becomes: “What is meant by doing good?” Does that mean allowing people to do that which is right in their own sight? No! Such action is not according to GOD’S WORD. We are to do that which is right according to GOD not that which is right according to man or ourselves. The Bible clearly declares that “law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers and mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.” [I Timothy 1: 9 (NIV)]

Repeating the last portion of that verse, “and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.” [I Timothy 1: 9b (NIV)] Whatever is good MUST “conform to the glorious gospel of the blessed God….”

As I said in the previous post, Paul may not be directly referring to laws passed by governments. However, the concept is the same. Laws are not passed (or at least should not be—governments can become corrupt) to prevent righteous, just, and good people from doing good. Laws are passed to prevent people from doing that which is wrong as defined by the government and to provide a punishment for doing that wrong. Commands given by GOD are for our direction. They are given so that we will know good from evil and so that we will do good NOT evil.

I think it is significant that the quote from Galatians about doing good is the end of the paragraph and begins with “Therefore.” What is the first sentence of that paragraph? “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” [Galatians 6: 7-8 (NIV)] If you do evil, if you sin, if you violate the law, you will reap destruction. Christians do not encourage people to sin—period!

The account of “The Good Samaritan” as told by JESUS in Luke 10: 25-37 (NIV) was an account of helping and showing mercy to the victim of a crime not of helping the robbers who attacked the Samaritan. Note also the conversation between JESUS and the expert in the law right before JESUS gave the account. “On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherent eternal life?’

‘What is written in the Law?’ he replied. ‘How do you read it?’

He (the expert in the law—my addition) answered: “‘Love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’’” [Luke 10: 25-27 (NIV)]

As I have said before, I know of no place in the Bible where man is commanded to reward others for the sins that they commit. This, of course, is logical because that would just encourage people to sin. Illegal immigrants are not the victims of a crime. They are the criminals. They are the ones who are sinning and violating law.

The conclusion is the same. Illegal immigrants should not be rewarded for their illegal activities. To do so is to pervert the WORD of GOD. It is not love to encourage individuals to violate GOD’S law or to violate the legitimate laws of a nation. “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” [Galatians 6: 7-8 (NIV)]

Now, I don’t think it is necessary to say that all illegal immigrants should be permanently denied American citizenship. However, they should be required to return to their home country and go through the same legal process that all other law abiding individuals must go through to enter the United States. They must, in practice, proceed from the beginning following the legal, required procedures. Any deviation that gives an advantage to those who have deliberately violated our laws would be a mockery of our laws and an affront to all those who have followed the prescribed provisions of our laws.

It would be saying ME first regardless! It would be encouraging people to sin against GOD and encouraging them to violate the laws of the nation. It would be rewarding sinful, illegal behavior. It would be wrong!


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