There’s a deep theological truth in the fact that before we were graciously drawn to repentance and faith in Jesus, we were strangers and spiritually undocumented without citizenship in Heaven.
The Apostle Paul affirms this in Ephesians 2:12: “remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners.” The beautiful hymn, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” affirms this: “Jesus sought me when a stranger, Wandering from the fold of God; He, to rescue me from danger, Interposed His precious blood.”
And yet, WHILE being strangers, foreigners, and immigrants who were spiritually undocumented without citizenship in Heaven, Christ STILL died on the cross for us so that we might have an eternal relationship with God and citizenship in Heaven. The Apostle Paul affirms this in Romans 5:8: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Therefore, as Ephesians 2:19 says, we “..are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people..”
Therefore, we were once strangers, foreigners, and immigrants who were spiritually undocumented without citizenship in Heaven, but through the cross of Jesus, we are now adopted sons and daughters with citizenship in Heaven. And yet, at the very same time, we are spiritual and physical strangers and immigrants passing through this earth as stated in 1 Peter 2:11: “ Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.” And, as an implication of our relationship with Jesus, He tells us in Matthew 25:35: “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”
To be a Christian is to be an immigrant. There’s no way around it.
What does this mean for us?
- Being a Christian is a deeply Immigrant experience—both spiritual and physical. This part of our journey.
- As Christians, we have a lot in common with Immigrants in the United States of America and at the Southern Border.
- Being a Christian means we welcome Immigrants, documented and undocumented. Even if we disagree with their status.
- To retreat from Undocumented Immigrants because they have zero citizenship in America, is to forget that WHILE we were once spiritually undocumented, Christ engaged (not retreated) with us by dying on a cross (Romans 5:8).