Removing ancient boundaries
This week a farmer in the Belgian town of Erquelinnes decided that he had had enough of driving his tractor around a boundary stone so he moved it 2.29 metres. The stone, which had been placed on the site in 1819, was significant because it marked the Franco-Belgian border. By moving it, the farmer had increased the Belgian border, much to the consternation of the international community.
The Bible makes several references to moving ancient boundary stones (Deut. 19:17; Deut. 27:17; Prov. 22:28; Prov. 23:10; Hos. 5:10) indicating that boundaries are clearly important to God. Let’s explore the idea of boundaries in the New Testament.
In 1 John 3:4 we read: “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4 KJV). God set the landmarks that demarcate between right and wrong. When we sin we have crossed the line on the boundary that God has set. Those landmarks are ancient and we cannot replace or remove them.
God’s word is unchanging. The boundaries that were established in His word do not move from generation to generation. We can’t rewrite the rules that God established from the beginning of time. We can’t blur the boundaries. We can’t conveniently ignore them. Sin is sin.
Once we cross the boundary, the way back is barred. Just like when Adam and Eve sinned in Eden and cherubim with a flaming sword barred their access back to the Garden.
In Christ, however, when we do cross the boundary and sin, God has provided a way for us to return. Just like the prodigal son who stepped away from his family’s boundaries and lived wildly, when he returned with a repentant heart he was received into the open arms of his father. When we repent and confess our sin, our Father forgives our sin. We are completely pardoned and restored and return to our position with the Father.
Our reconciliation to God is complete only through the atoning work of Jesus. “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:19 KJV).