Though writing in the 17th century, John Flavel has words of wisdom for Christians that apply well to immigration issues today.
Flavel, in paraphrasing the counsel given by God to Isaiah in Isaiah 8:12-14a, writes
Do not say, ‘A confederacy,’ to whomever this people say, ‘A confederacy.’ In other words, do not let these frightful tidings affect you the way they affect Ahaz and those with him. They are so terrified at the approaching danger that all their counsels, thoughts, and studies are occupied with preventing it. They seek an alliance with Assyria (Hos. 5:13). If that fails, then they will seek protection from foreign power against Assyria. But their eyes do not look to Me for protection and deliverance.
They expect more from Egypt than from heaven, more from a broken reed than from the Rock of Ages. Do not fear their fear! It drives them from Me to the creature. It first distracts them, and then ensnares them.
In marked contrast, see that you and all the faithful in the land sanctify Me in your hearts, and make Me your fear and dread. Rely upon Me by faith in this day of trouble. See that you give Me the glory of My wisdom, power, and faithfulness by relying entirely upon My attributes that are engaged for you in so many tested promises. Do not give yourselves to sinful and vain dealings, as those who have no interest in Me nor experience of Me.
In other words:
- Nations are either obedient or disobedient to God in their choices and actions.
- A nation can apostatize from God by their actions.
- A people under God must not make political decisions out of expediency for protection or fear of enemies. This is a lack of faith that God will protect his righteous people.
- Modern governments who are under God must not ally with countries that are blasphemous towards the true God and worship themselves or false gods.
- Allying with nations and their false gods will not bring protection, but greater judgment, sealing their defeat.
What this means regarding immigration issues
Today much is said regarding border controls and immigration issues. Many Christians want tighter borders, stricter immigration procedures, etc. There are a few problems with this Biblically:
- God gave the government the sole job of punishing evil-doers, those who have actually broken His Law.
- God does not allow governments to create their laws, so the law they must enforce is God’s Law.
- God’s Law does not give nations the ability to restrict the free movement of people across borders.
So what do we do?
As Christians, we must not support the government restricting non-violent and non-victim-creating criminals in crossing borders, working, or any other activity except for voting (defined in a future post). For those who make it in, we must be willing to do what God commands of us, even if the State says it is “wrong.” This includes protecting our neighbors (those within your community) from unjust tyrants, providing work for food and living (such as Boaz did for Ruth), etc.
What about those who want all people to become citizens of the nation automatically when they enter, get free housing and funding, and a whole host of government subsidized benefits? Here are the problems with this view:
- The government is only to punish breakers of God’s Law – not to be a father, mother, or caretaker.
- The duty to help the poor, needy, “stranger,” “sojourner,” and the politically oppressed is the job of the Church (not necessarily the institution).
We must not let fear of new people, secretive threats, or potential attacks dictate our ethical treatment of people. We are protected by God and can trust in His blessing our obedient faith.