Our Boundaries

James Hiser

Psalms 16: 6 — “The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places, Yea, I have a goodly heritage.”

When we entered into this life, we entered into a realm governed by boundaries: time, space limits, laws of nature, laws of government(s), etc. All kinds of boundaries! Consider, also, the lot of criminals. They are governed by boundaries that are even more stringent, by being incarcerated, for example. Properties have boundaries: cities, counties, states, and nations. All have boundaries. We are surrounded by limitations!

The Psalmist said that the lines had fallen to him in “pleasant places.” In Psalm 23, He said that he had been taken to pleasant places: green pastures, still waters, and paths of righteousness. In both of these Psalms, the Grantor – the Shepherd – God, was responsible for these great blessings. Here, in Psalm 16, the figure of speech employed is that of a surveyor laying out property lines.

Now, let us look at our own lot as Christians. We, too, have limits or boundaries. Is not our lot as good as that of the Psalmist? As the apostle said in Romans 3: 2, “Much every way!” In Romans 3, he spoke of the advantages the Jews had over the gentiles. In Hebrews, the theme of the letter concerns the advantage Christianity had over the Jewish, or any other religious system. Note some of the disadvantages of the Jewish religion: no final remission of sins, animal sacrifices, rather than the perfect sacrifice of an intelligent, accountable, perfect Son of God Almighty. Yes! We have a goodly heritage!

What of our daily lives? We have the laws, precepts, and examples that Christ gave us. In addition, we are blessed with the preserving power of the Word of God — the work of the Holy Spirit. Plus, we have the overseeing love and care of Almighty God. Just here, we must add that, as some great advantages were available in both the Patriarchal and Mosaic age, the availability of these blessings were predicated on the obedience of the people to God’s will. Today, our disobedience will nullify our great blessings just as it did to the people of the pre-Christian age. Yes, we are compassed about by boundaries and restrictions. All people are! However, as Christians, we may choose the more pleasant boundaries. 

Consider, for a moment, Paul’s writings to the Galatians: one may choose to indulge in the “works of the flesh,” (Galatians 5:19-21). Here the Apostle lists a catalogue of actions and attitudes, and then concludes that, “They which do such things shall not enter into the Kingdom of God.” On the other hand, he lists the “fruit of the Spirit,” (5:22, 23): Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” His concluding judgment is completely different from that of the “works of the flesh.” Of the fruit of the Spirit, he said, “Against such there is no law!” Do you get it? No restrictions, limits, boundaries, or prohibitions. Rather, there is complete freedom!

We are blessed by having a blessed hope of a heavenly reward, having the approval of both our fellow men, and of God. (Compare Acts 2: 47). In addition, we have a more pleasant daily life, etc., if we conduct ourselves as Christians should. However, if we choose to live by worldly standards, the consequences are extremely unpleasant: a guilty conscience, possibly being addicted to toxic substances, chancing to contact vile diseases, having a deteriorating home life, becoming caught up in brawling, being injured in fights, but more than these, missing heaven when life is over! There is nothing good that we may look forward to!

By asking for the “old paths,” (Jeremiah 6:16), we have the promise that we shall have rest for our souls. By watching and standing fast in the faith, (1 Corinthians 16:13), we shall stand approved, and have the assurance of heaven as a final reward for the soul.

Indeed, we may say with the Psalmist, “The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places, Yea, I have a goodly heritage.” -5636 Cherrywood Dr., Lorain, OH 44053.

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