by Joe Slater
Among hot-button political issues, illegal immigration certainly ranks toward the top. I am not naive enough to think I have all the answers, nor am I interested in discussing the political aspects in this article.
I do find some interesting similarities, however, between this subject and a current controversy within the Lord’s body.
Some American citizens espouse an “open borders” policy. Most of them would modify their position to keep out narco-terrorists and others who would overtly harm us.
But short of that, they do not believe that anyone should be denied entrance into the country. They insist that illegal immigrants are hard-working, law-abiding folks, despite the fact that crossing the border illegally prevents any accurate application of the description “law-abiding.” Those advocating open borders paste the label “anti-immigrant” on fellow-citizens who oppose their view.
This reminds me of some of my brethren who insist that anyone with some sort of faith in Jesus is a brother or sister in Christ, a fellow-citizen of Messiah’s kingdom. They know better than to extend the right hand of Christian fellowship to atheists or others who would blatantly deny Christ. However, we are too narrow, intolerant, and exclusive, they complain, when we contend that only those who have believed and obeyed the gospel of Christ are actually to be recognized as Christians (Acts 2:37-38,47).
After all, some who have been sprinkled for baptism or prayed the sinner’s prayer for salvation, or have otherwise deviated from the pattern in the New Testament, are good, hard-working, devout people. They obey New Testament teaching in numerous other ways. Sometimes they might work harder than most who have obeyed the gospel!
Other Americans maintain that those wishing to become citizens must comply with the lawful process Just so, we find brethren within the church who, like myself, stand firmly on the proposition that one wishing to be a citizen in Messiah’s Kingdom must believe and obey the gospel of Christ (Acts 22:16).
We love and admire many good things about people in the denominational world. We do not wish to keep them from citizenship. Indeed, we fervently pray they will obey the gospel; we tearfully plead with them to do so without delay! (Acts 17:30).
But we have neither the desire nor the ability to modify the word of the Lord. We would be cruel, indeed, to pretend that someone is saved when, in fact, that person is still lost in sin.
Unlike becoming an American citizen, entrance into Messiah’s Kingdom involves no waiting in line, filling out endless paperwork, or obtaining approval from some bureaucrat. We can confess Christ this very moment and be immersed in water for the remission of our sins (Romans 6:1-4). We will enter into a saved relationship with God, and the Lord will add us to His church.
Why not come to Him now?
by Joe Slater