My good friend and fellow blogger Mark Daniels (Better Living) is beginning a series of posts he is calling How Christians Might Think About the Illegal Immigration Issue. Mark has a good head on his shoulders, so I’m sure this series is going to be worth reading. He seems to be approaching this divisive subject by laying a careful foundation of things we can agree upon. Here’s a sample from what he calls “Window #1”:
Martin Luther said that God rules in two ways, through two kingdoms:
• First, there’s God’s kingdom of grace. This is the kingdom under which Christians live. Christians believe they’ve been given a new relationship with God, with others, and with themselves. Their old sinful selves have been crucified with Christ and by God’s charity—His grace, they know that all believers in Christ live in God’s kingdom forever. That begins now. In Christ’s kingdom of grace, God doesn’t have to coerce His people to love God or love their neighbor. They seek to do so voluntarily.
• Second, there’s God’s kingdom of laws. Luther says that because not all will want to voluntarily surrender to Christ, God also establishes coercive government authority. Governments exist in order to establish a baseline of mutual expectations and a modicum of order among the people who live in any country or community. Governments are authorized by God to levy taxes, create police and military forces, and impose fines, all to coerce those who would otherwise “go their own way” (Acts 14:16) into involuntarily acceding to respect for God and respect for neighbor.
Christians are called to voluntarily submit to the kingdom of laws out of consideration for their neighbors. They know that unless people have come to submit to God’s kingdom of grace, … they are wont to live selfishly and to disregard the good of their neighbors.