[This post comes from the November 2011 edition of the Church Notes]
Among the many difficult issues our political leaders have to grapple with at the present time is the vexing question of illegal immigrants, and particularly those who claim to be refugees and who seek political asylum. It is without doubt true that a bona fide refugee would prefer to be in a country such as Australia, which provides peace and security at a level unknown in the lands from which one flees. However, it is not conversely true that those who simply “prefer to be in Australia” are automatically refugees, and all such claims do have to be examined. Those who are discovered to be opportunists or migrants of convenience should expect to be sent back, if for no other reason than because they have attempted to deceive.
Those who are found to be true refugees, but particularly those with no intent of ever returning permanently to their homelands, should be reminded that it is now their clear obligation to seek citizenship as evidence that they embrace their new land and its legal principles. We should have place enough for these, even for those who bring with them a private faith that does not seek public recognition. The question would be much easier to settle if our government agencies had clearer parameters by which to measure refugee claims, and could do so without fear of transgressing against so-called “anti-discrimination” law. The simple act of making such a choice is itself an act of “discrimination” as any sound dictionary will affirm. Sadly our language has been so hijacked that for many dictionaries, the primary sense now attributed to the use of the word “Discrimination” is negative.
It is helpful, therefore, to consider the circumstances whereby we gain citizenship into the Kingdom of Heaven. It is a kingdom which offers to all its citizens a security so strong that it is eternal, and a peace totally apart from any other worldly peace in any place and in any age. There is protection under the rule of its King from all enemies, and for all time. Rightly understood, it is the most desirable place for any-one to “live”, yet paradoxically its first citizen Adam rejected it, preferring instead for himself and his posterity what turned out to be a kingdom of weeds. There are, then, no men or women naturally born into this kingdom. Entry must be sought.
In this sense, all bona fide seekers of heavenly citizenship are “refugees” fleeing the oppression and tyranny of sin, and fleeing the wrath to come. But we cannot claim entry into the Kingdom of Heaven as of right. Jesus Christ Himself is the Door, and all who would enter must pass through Him! He reserves the right to open or shut according to His eternal principles and conditions, and neither we nor anyone else can bring our Lord Jesus before a court of the United Nations (or of United Faiths) of this world and succeed in a claim of discrimination. He demands that all who ask entry renounce their citizenship of this world and that all granted the privilege of citizenship must demonstrate this new status by giving evidence of a new mindset and a new loyalty. The Bible calls this change repentance and any who claim to be a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven who do not first repent and then seek grace to repent continuously, are liars. Citizenship within the Kingdom of Heaven does not grant licence to do as one pleases, but a liberty to do as the King of Heaven pleases.
The privileges of citizenship in the Kingdom of Heaven are so great that many who are not true citizens but who live “near” the Kingdom do enjoy some of its benefits. Sadly some are content with this and think that nothing more is required. Nothing could be further from the truth. Nor will “near enough” stand YOU for eternity!