Speaker: Mark Vroegop
Scripture: Romans 8:12-17
Series: The Promise of Righteousness
Click Below to Listen to this Sermon:
12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. Romans 8:12–17 (ESV)
Two weeks ago we began our journey through Romans 8 as I shared about going up to Arthur’s seat in Edinburgh, Scotland. By reaching the summit you are not only able to get a better view of where you have been but also a vision of where you would like to go.
So far in our study we have looked at the beauty of no condemnation: examining the new reality that God has placed us in through the work of Christ. And last week we looked at the Spirit’s role in the spiritual life, and we learned how different the flesh is from the Spirit and how central the Holy Spirit is for the lives of believers in Jesus. I hope that you found new “life” in some areas of your life this week.
Now I am suggesting to you that summit views “wow” you with the beauty of what you see and “woo” you to see even more. Our text today is part of that “exploring” vision. If you understand what Paul is saying about “no condemnation” and the Spirit, then there will be specific, tangible steps that we take. In other words, those who are spiritually alive and sovereignly adopted are able to defeat sin.
FRONT PAGE MAGAZINE | In the wake of the terror attacks in Paris, France terror raids were carried out in Belgium and Greece to identify, locate and hunt down so-called “sleepers cells.” Journalists and politicians have finally raised the issue of the threats potentially posed by sleeper agents in the United States, going back to the future — the same concerns about sleeper cells in the United States were voiced in the wake of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 including by the then-director of the FBI, Robert Mueller.
Of course any discussion about sleeper agents gaining entry into the United States would logically call into question the multiple and massive failures of the immigration system. Today politicians from both sides of the political aisle are hell-bent on making certain that the flood of foreign workers, foreign tourists and foreign students continue without impediment. Consequently admitting that immigration is a vital component of national security and must be treated as such would run contrary to the goals of advocates for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
The “solution” politicians and journalists who oppose effective immigration law enforcement have devised to resolve the quandary that this creates is to describe sleeper agents as being “homegrown,” hoping that Americans will ignore the obvious: That foreign nationals are seeking to enter the United States to launch terror attacks.
Incredibly, even such foreign national terrorists have come to be referred to as being “homegrown” by journalists, politicians and high-ranking members of the law enforcement community who should know better. This is nothing short of Orwellian propaganda.
Former NYPD Police Commissioner Ray Kelly apparently fell victim to this mis-identification of foreign terrorists when he described Faisal Shahzad, the so-called “Times Square Bomber” as being “homegrown.” The title of a New York Post article, published on May 11, 2010, quoted Commissioner Kelly, “Kelly: NYC bomb suspect ‘homegrown,’” and contained the following statement:
Congress is about to pass a high-tech foreign worker bill that will — oddly — in its first year, admit something like 430,000 additional temporary workers, about 84 percent of whom will not have high-tech credentials.
That’s right — the vast majority of these new nonimmigrant workers will not be admitted because of their technical skills.
This will be in addition to the routine annual admission of about one million permanent resident aliens, and another million nonimmigrant workers of various kinds.
The bill is the highly touted, unfortunately bi-partisan, “Immigration Innovation Act of 2015″ (S.153), with the sponsors’ fond nickname “I Squared Act”. It will allow roughly the doubling or tripling of H-1B slots each year and is based on the wholly fallacious, but widespread, belief that there is some kind of “shortage” of high-tech workers in the United States. (A summary of the bill is also available.)
The ultra-rich employers of Silicon Valley want the legislation to keep down wages and to allow them to ignore American high-tech workers, particularly those over 35, and hire more lower-cost, indentured computer programmers and engineers under the existing H-1B program. Most of these workers are from India, with the second largest delegation coming from China.
There are currently generous annual allocations of visas for these H-1B workers, with a ceiling of 65,000 for general-duty high-tech workers, another one of 20,000 high-tech workers with U.S. advanced degrees, and yet another allocation, without a limit, for H-1B workers assigned to universities and to entities regarded as affiliated with those universities. (The administration has taken umbrage at all attempts to narrow the definition of “affiliated” in these cases.)
Since the visas last a long time, and are often bridges to permanent resident alien status, I estimate there are something like 900,000 active H-1B visas at any given time; the holders are thus a major portion of the high-tech work force. There has been much written on the evils of this program by, among others, my CIS colleague John Miano, a New Jersey lawyer, and by Professor Norman Matloff of UC-Davis, including his most recent blog on the subject.
DAILY CALLER | The new border security bill being rushed forward by the Republican leadership is merely political theater, says Kenneth Palinkas, head of the union representing the 12,000 federal employees at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service.
“H.R. 399 — Chairman [Mike] McCaul’s legislation — does nothing to preclude anyone in the world from turning themselves in at the U.S. border and obtaining automatic entry and federal benefits,” such as work permits, Palinkas wrote in a Jan. 22 letter.
The bill doesn’t challenge practices adopted since 2010 by the White House, which ensure that “almost anyone at all can call themselves an asylum-seeker and get in; it’s a global joke,” said Palinkas.
Palinkas’ letter — in which he named 18 GOP legislators who voted for the bill — is part of a grassroots campaign to reform or block the border security bill.
The bill would spends $10 billion over 10 years. But it only adds 48 miles of double-layer fencing to meet an 2008 mandate to build various fences along 700 miles of the 2,000 mile border. It also actually tears down some border fencing, which backers say is being replaced by see-through barriers that help surveillance. More significantly, say critics, it does not include any language to end President Barack Obama’s catch-and-release border policies.
FOX NEWS LATINO | SAN DIEGO (AP) – Drug smugglers are turning “trusted travelers” into unwitting mules by placing containers with powerful magnets under their cars in Mexico and then recovering the illegal cargo far from the view of border authorities in the United States.
One motorist spotted the containers while pumping gas after crossing into Southern California on Jan. 12, and thought it might be a bomb.
His call to police prompted an emergency response at the Chevron station, and then a shocker: 13.2 pounds of heroin were pulled from under the vehicle, according to a U.S. law enforcement official. San Diego police said the drugs were packed inside six magnetized cylinders.
The driver had just used a “trusted traveler” lane at the San Ysidro border crossing, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because some details of the case have not been made public.
THE HILL | A group of big-city Democratic mayors are filing a legal brief in support of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti are leading the group of 33 mayors who will sign the amicus brief. The president’s immigration actions have been challenged in a lawsuit brought by 25 states with Republican governors.
The mayor’s filing argues that implementing the executive action promptly is in the public interest, and that blocking it will delay important changes to the immigration system.
Twenty-eight of the mayors have officially signed on, with an additional five planning to do so once they receive final approval at the municipal level.
The group includes Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a former Obama chief of staff, and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who is secretary of the Democratic National Committee. The mayors will be joined by the National League of Cities and the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
INSIGHT CRIME | Nearly four months after 43 students disappeared on their way to a protest in Mexico‘s Guerrero state, details continue to emerge in a case that has become the focus of mass protests and international criticism.
According to testimony obtained by VICE, members of Guerreros Unidos, the criminal group that allegedly carried out the attacks, said they believed members of rival gang Los Rojos were among the students travelling to Iguala. If the statement is true, the movement of the students would have been perceived as an incursion into Guerreros Unidos territory.
While the students deny any affiliation with Los Rojos, the new information may provide insight into why they were targeted. Previous explanations have focused on the former mayor of Iguala and his wife, who have been identified as the intellectual authors of the attack. (For a full recap of the missing students case, click through InSight Crime’s timeline below).
In another development, on January 22, Amnesty International lambasted the Attorney General’s office (PGR), and said that more scrutiny should be placed on the army.
DAILY CALLER | A New York gun dealer says he will shut down two stores he operates near Rochester and move to North Carolina because of onerous regulations on the sale of firearms and ammunition.
“The SAFE Act killed us in terms of business,” Kordell Jackson, who owns Jackson Guns and Ammo, told the Democrat & Chronicle.
“It was very difficult with sales and regulations with transferring and obtaining firearms, so I decided to close up,” Jackson said.
The SAFE Act, which was signed into law in 2013 in the wake of the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., is considered one of the toughest gun laws in the nation. It prohibits the sale of magazines that contain more than 10 rounds and puts strict limitations on features that can be attached to semi-automatic rifles such as the AR-15. It also requires ammunition dealers to perform background checks on the sale of ammunition similar to those performed during firearms transactions and outlaws all private firearms transactions.
“We’ve talked to a lot of customers, and everybody is very upset about the fact that we’re closing,” Jackson said. “This was not an easy decision, but they have to understand that with the new regulations, it’s impossible to survive.”
NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE | On January 30, the Southern District Court of Texas will decide whether 25 plaintiff states in Texas v. U.S. should be granted a preliminary injunction to stop the Obama administration’s latest, lawless executive amnesty. Establishing “legal standing” —essentially, a plaintiff’s right to sue — is highly problematic for petitioners aggrieved by the non-enforcement of our immigration laws, but the plaintiff states have skillfully laid out in their briefs a comprehensive case for why they should be granted standing.
The states assert several economic interests harmed by the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program. They cite, among other things, the millions of dollars that DAPA will impose in costs to state budgets and the labor-market distortions created by its work-authorization provisions. If the states are granted standing, their challenge to DAPA’s illegality will be allowed to go forward.
Non-enforcement of our immigration laws can create massive problems in our communities, job markets, and the environment. In the case of individuals or groups, however, the harms are generally not considered particular or definite enough to support their right to sue. Further, immigration law is often considered “political” and therefore, in the eyes of the courts, outside their purview. Note that this insulation of constitutional immigration law goes only one way. Groups like the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center routinely sue on behalf of illegal and criminal aliens claiming improper orders of deportation or denial of benefits.For state governments, though, it may be easier to achieve standing, especially when they are financially harmed by the federal action. In their briefs, the states cite the costs that illegal aliens add to well-known programs. Texas, for example, must spend an additional $1.3 billion annually in uncompensated medical care, $106 million in CHIP provisions, and $9,473 to educate each illegal-alien child.
The plaintiff states emphasize the added cost to state licensing. They claim that under DAPA, illegal-alien recipients in most states, including Texas, will become eligible to apply for driver’s licenses, which will incur costs. Attorneys for the Justice Department have attempted to rebut this claim, asserting that the costs of processing licenses would be recouped with fees. Texas notes, however, that fees received from non-citizen applicants “do not come close to covering the State’s costs.” The net loss to the state will be as high as $200 per license, not including the costs of renewals, the plaintiff states maintain.
DOJ also argues that states are not required to issue driver’s licenses under DAPA and that these injuries are therefore “self-inflicted.” As the plaintiff states point out, however, DOJ attorneys made the exact opposite assertion in a brief filed in Arizona Dream Act Coalition v. Brewer. (Joyce Branda, acting assistant attorney general, is a signer of both briefs.) In that case, the Arizona government first offered licenses to recipients of DACA, but not to other illegal aliens, before rescinding that benefit and denying licenses to all illegal aliens, after it was sued in district court for discrimination. For its retraction of benefits, the state government was sued a second time, again on discrimination grounds, and a Ninth Circuit panel of three judges, appointed by Presidents Carter, Clinton, and Obama, enjoined the law. Now, in its response to the plaintiff states in Texas v. U.S., DOJ is apparently saying that decision was wrong.
DOJ’s “new” view of the law creates its own harm, the states argue, and would force them into an all-or-nothing choice: either extend licenses to all deferred-action recipients or stop issuing them to any such recipients, including, for instance, foreign students whose visa conditions were disrupted by Hurricane Katrina. This all-or-nothing choice, the states argue, is akin to the Medicaid-expansion provision of Obamacare, which was struck down as “unconstitutionally coercive.” They add that any doubt about the causal relationship between amnesty and illegal immigration is eliminated by their expert demographer, who affirmed that amnesty will “discernibly and significantly” increase illegal immigration.
The plaintiff states rely in part on the Supreme Court’s decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, in which Massachusetts sued the Environmental Protection Agency for failing to regulate carbon emissions from new cars sold in the U.S. The state claimed that the emissions increased climate change, which would disproportionately impact the coastal state by raising sea levels. In Texas v. U.S., the plaintiffs argue, modestly, that their economic injuries are “far more concrete” and traceable than in Massachusetts’s case and that therefore their legal standing should be much clearer.
They note that under parens patriae (parent of the nation) doctrine, states have been given standing to vindicate certain “state sovereign” interests, such as the protection of their citizens’ economic well-being. That principle was demonstrated in Alfred L. Snapp v. Puerto Rico, in which the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico sued apple growers in Virginia under the Immigration and Nationality Act, for discriminating against Puerto Rican migrant workers by hiring temporary foreign labor. The plaintiffs’ argument in Texas is that DAPA discriminates against U.S. workers by raising the cost of their labor relative to that of illegal aliens, because the latter are exempt from the Obamacare-mandated “minimum essential coverage” that employers would otherwise have to pay.
If they are granted standing and a trial on the case’s merits is held, the states will be able to provide further evidence of their injury under DAPA. Texas, for example, should include as an economic interest the $1 billion in un-recouped law-enforcement costs traceable to illegal aliens. But if Judge Andrew S. Hanen of the Southern District in Texas finds that the states lack sufficient standing and he dismisses the case, the House of Representatives should pass a resolution authorizing litigation to vindicate its institutional injury by filing a separation-of-powers lawsuit against the executive.
— Ian Smith is an attorney in Washington, D.C. and blog contributor for the Immigration Reform Law Institute.