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God and Government: Immigration, Part 3

September 15, 2014

Grace to you! We’ve looked at the hot topic of immigration the last two weeks. We’ve seen that illegal immigration undermines the national philosophy of government due to lack of an assimilation plan and that a biblical understanding of the church would help us understand that every group has the right to decide who is a member of their group based on their willingness to follow their ideas and laws. These are good paradigms that teach us about assimilation and its potential pitfalls. But specifically, what is the church to do about illegal immigration? Here the church seems divided between two ideas.

On the one hand, the church knows that it is called to a ministry of mercy to help the helpless and destitute. The church can’t help but look at the illegal immigrants, understand the harsh conditions they have lived under, and turn a deaf ear to the pleas of others for liberty and freedom.

However, the bible states in Romans 13:1-7 that government is to uphold the law. Government is to reward the good and punish the lawbreaking. And illegal immigration is breaking the law. But as the church looks at Romans 13, it seems the church is trapped between a desire to help the illegal immigrants who are seeking a better life and yet asking the government to uphold the law. How is the church to specifically respond to this situation?

First, we have to say that the church is not the government. The church has not been given the power of the sword to enforce law. But with that said, the church carries the voice of God who is the ultimate Lawgiver. The church has authority to say “Thus says the Lord” where the Lord has indeed spoken. The church is to be as a conscience to the public and governing officials to uphold the law. Lawlessness is dishonoring to God on the highest level. So the church should speak to the government about upholding the laws on immigration.

Second, the church should be the first to respond to the illegal immigration travesty. Children are being left destitute and without homes. The church should be there in full force with mercy ministries to feed and clothe the needy. (See Mark 9:41)

Third, the church should tell illegal immigrants to submit to the law of the land in honoring Romans 13. The church can speak to illegal immigrants just as it would to anyone else who breaks the law. The church should clearly say that illegal immigration is that: illegal. All government is given by God. To disregard the law of government, if it is a legitimate law, is to disobey God.

And yet here also, the church should appeal to the government to increase the means available for those who want to come here legally, adopt the American ideals, and be assimilated into our constitutional republic. We should encourage immigration that seeks to come here legally and is willing to commit to the principles that made our nation great under God.

Looking for a church home? Come visit South Whitwell Baptist, 133 South Oak Street, Whitwell. Sunday Service: 10:45 AM. Visit our web page:

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