Strangers and Aliens

Ephesians chapter two is a chapter we Lutherans love to quote, especially Ephesians two verses eight and nine: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— not the result of works, so that no one may boast.” Lutherans at least have that much branded into the brains. 
But if we go just a little farther we find this interesting statement by Paul: “So then, remember that at one time you Gentiles by birth, called “the uncircumcision” by those who are called “the circumcision”—a physical circumcision made in the flesh by human hands— remember that you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” (2:10-13)

The author of Ephesians wants to remind his largely gentile audience that at one time they were all strangers and aliens, non citizens, to the commonwealth of Israel. At one time they were all foreigners to God’s promises. It is only by God’s supreme grace that their citizenship status has changed and that they have been brought near.

Last time I checked most of us in the Lutheran Church where still technically gentiles and so we should probably listen to what Ephesians is trying to say to us. We were all foreigners at one point or another, all aliens, and only by God’s grace have we been brought near. 

Listen, The Bible doesn’t give us an exact manual on what policy is better or worse. Nowhere in the Bible does it say what the right immigration quotas would be, or whether chain migration is a good or bad policy, or whether open borders are best. I wish it did, for that would make all our jobs a lot easier. Unfortunately, though, the Bible leaves that hard policy work for us. 

However, the Bible does want us to remember this simple fact: we were all aliens and strangers and the only reason that has changed is because of God’s grace.

I speak only for myself when I say this: that revelation changes my outlook on the immigrant and the citizen alike. 

What you decide to do with that revelation is up to you. 

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