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Thursday, May 27, 2010

What should a Christian's actions be, if any, toward someone who is desiring to know and follow God's counsel, yet whose status may at present be considered that of an illegal alien?

The Bible advises Christians to obey the laws of the land in all matters where it is not in conflict with God's law. (Rom. 13:1; Acts 5:29) But the Bible does not charge us to become acquainted with all the details of civil and criminal law so as to enforce these.

We have an example in Onesimus. He was a run away slave and yet was with the apostle Paul. While Onesimus was in Rome, Paul didn't hand him over to the Roman authorities for punishment as a fugitive slave and a possible thief. Though Paul believed that a Christian should obey the law of the land, he clearly did not consider that it was the duty of the congregation to serve as an arm of the government in policing people's lives. Paul personally urged Onesimus to return to his legal master and eventually he did. We have to balance those things which are directly spoken of as wrong, with those which may offend Caesar but not Jehovah. (See Philem. 8-22.)

Similarly, today, we don't check every detail as to a person's legal status in the country. But we do strive to abide by the laws of the land that we live in, according to our best knowledge of them.

For much more, see:
Are illegal immigrant Witnesses reproved? (JWQ&A)