Should illegal immigrants be considered citizens? Should they be given the benefits of citizens?Should they be given voting rights? Should they be given jobs? Should they be kicked out? Or should they be given amnesty, since, after all, there are so many of them, and so much of our economy depends on them? What about our security? Are we harming ourselves by not enforcing tougher immigration laws?

Now I am not talking about our nation, though the immigration issue is a serious issue for to discuss. I am instead talking about our churches. There are many people who are members of our churches that have no citizenship in heaven. They have been given voting rights and in some places have even been given jobs to serve the church body. Some pastors have given them amnesty because they are good people, and there might not be childcare or nursery or youth group if they aren’t there. But is this what God has designed? Is not the church to be holy and blameless (Col. 1:21-22)? Is not the church to be unleavened (1 Cor. 5)? Is not the church identified by the Gospel of Christ? How can we proclaim the Gospel and advance the Gospel if not everyone who claims membership even believes in the Gospel?!

Perhaps we need to take more time to meditate on the beautiful picture of the church that Jesus is fighting for (Eph. 5:25-27). We must pray that God will work on our hearts to increase our affections for a pure church. We must pray for boldness to confront those who do not demonstrate faith in the message we proclaim, and we must order our churches so that the Bible is the final authority and God is our Rock. Welcome all into the doors of the church, but make clear that only those who have been washed by the blood of the risen Jesus can be considered true citizens.