Christians and Foreigners

Jesus says in Matthew 22:34-40 that the 2nd greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself (Lev 19:18). The first is to love God with your heart soul and strength (Deut 6:4-5). 1 John 4:7-8 says that love comes from God and anyone that doesn’t love is not of God, for God is love. This means it is impossible to love God and hate your neighbor. The Great commission according to Matthew 28:18-20 is to teach all nations. The word nation in the new testament is translated from the Greek word ethnos (ἔθνος) which is where we get the English word ethnicity. This means that biblical nations aren’t specifically referring to nation-states but rather people groups (ethnicities). This goes back to the ethnic separation by language at the Tower of Babel in Genesis 10 and 11.

How can all people hear the gospel if western “Christians” want to kick them out of their countries? The bible says believers are in the world but not of the world (John 17:13-19), and are actually citizens of heaven (Phil 3:20-21). Therefore, believers’ national identity in earthly nation-states should be superseded by their heavenly citizenship. The believer should prioritize their kingdom nationality over their earthly one because they are ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor 5:20), which means they represent Christ’s kingdom on earth. An ambassador is someone that lives in one country but represents another. When we were born again we were made citizens of the new Kingdom, we are only here on earth as ambassadors for that kingdom. This means nationalism, has no place in Christianity because all national identities will be destroyed on Judgment Day, and only God’s people will be saved because they are citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, and as for now they simply are foreigners on earth that work for the heavenly embassy.

This means Jesus wants all people of all ethnic groups to have a chance to enter the covenant of salvation from sin through Jesus. Therefore, believers have no place to gatekeep who is welcome into the body of Christ, we can’t withhold the gospel from people based on their race, ethnicity, sex, nationality, etc (Galatians 3:28). Restricting certain people groups from coming to western countries that have more freedoms conflicts with the great commission, especially if the gospel is illegal in their country of origin. For some foreigners coming to a free country as refugees or otherwise, may be the only way they hear the gospel. Unless more Christians are willing to do missions work and travel to countries that will kill them for sharing the gospel, Christians should not be resistant to foreigners coming to their country. Jesus is the only gatekeeper to this covenant (John 10:1-2), no one else. The Torah warns the Israelites multiple times to NOT mistreat foreigners living among them (Ex 22:20-22, Ex 23:9, Lev 19:33-34, Deut 10:18-19, Deut 14:29, Deut 23:7, Deut 26:11), to offer them legal protection (Num 35:15, Deut 1:16, Deut 24:14-17, Deut 27:19), and to give them resources when they are in need (Lev 19:34, Lev 23:22, Deut 24:19-21, Deut 26:12).

Jesus told his disciples to teach all nations because he loved the world (all people) and gave his life for them (John 3:16). The cost of sin is death (Rom 6:23) but Jesus paid that debt for us. Those that believe in Jesus, will be saved from slavery to sin, and they will be adopted into God’s family as his children inheriting the promise of the holy spirit which will help them overcome their sinful nature (John 1:10-13, 1 John 3:9-10, Rom 8:5-17). God’s children are those that are filled with his spirit, and they overcome sin by following the spirit and not their sin nature and it is they that will inherit eternal life after the resurrection of the righteous (Galatians 5:16, Galatians 6:7-8). Those that don’t will miss out and experience the second death after the resurrection on judgment day (John 3:16-21, Revelation 20:4-6).

In Romans 10:8-10 Paul says that If you confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus is the risen Lord, you will be saved. In verse 13 he quotes Joel 2:32 saying that “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” However, Paul brings up an interesting point in verses 14-17. He says, “how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, ‘How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!’”[Isa 52:7] He then quotes Isaiah 53:1 saying, “Lord, who has believed our message?” And he concludes that faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ. Christians can’t actively restrict people from hearing the gospel and also fulfill the great commission. That means welcoming people from other cultures to your homeland so they can at least hear the gospel and have a chance to know Jesus.