Boundaries – Who’s Line Is It Anyway?

4143477-dry-stone-walls-are-known-in-scotland-as-dry-stane-dykes-these-structures-are-built-without-the-use-“Do not move an ancient boundary stone set up by your forefathers.” ~ Proverbs 22:28

Are boundaries Biblical?

Sure. IF they are Biblical boundaries. God is a God of order, not chaos.  He wants us to be wise and discerning as we apply the Biblical boundaries He has set forth in His Word and His creation. He admonishes us to avoid the dangers of wandering outside the boundaries that He has established. His boundaries are for our good, the good of others and His glory.

Yet, it’s common practice nowadays, especially among Christian women, to assert their need for unbiblical boundaries. This is where we run into problems.

Our boundaries are to be motivated by a desire to please the Lord with godly living. For example, we place firm hedges around our marriages or our purity by fleeing from sexual immorality. That is a Biblical boundary.

Focusing on perceived ‘rights’ to the exclusion of our responsibility is an unbiblical boundary. When our mindset becomes centered on ourselves, we have wandered outside of our God-given responsibilities. Any boundary ought to be set to please God and for the good of others. Unbiblical boundaries are birthed out of selfish motivation.

When sorting out responsibilities Biblically, we need to be mindful that our focus is not to be on self but rather on serving and pleasing the Lord since our responsibility is to and before Him and to others but not self. If the boundary issue is the result of sin, whether individual or mutual then we know that it is sufficiently addressed in the Scriptures.

This may include lovingly confronting the sin in others or even our own because there will be times discipline is warranted with the intent of restoration and salvation unto God but unbiblical boundaries hinders this sanctification.

Biblical boundaries are a righteous means to love someone. The focus of Biblical boundaries is to align with God and His standards put forth in His Word. Not our own. As believers we are to rely on God’s provision of care as we help restore one another. Even though as Christ followers we are ‘set apart’ and consecrated to God to be in the world but not of it we are accountable to teach the whole counsel of God’s Word, to disciple one another and reach out to the lost and perishing.

Christians are not called to be self protective and demanding that our needs be met. On the contrary, we are called to die to self, trusting the Lord even in the face of persecution or trials. The Bible exhorts us to live by the Spirit and be people galvanized by love, not galvanized by self-centered, self-protective boundaries.

An important distinction needs to be made here. The type of self-protection being discussed is synonymous with self-serving, inward looking preoccupation. This is not self protection in the sense of violence.

“There is no excuse whatsoever for a man to use physical violence against his wife; in fact, that is the most blatant kind of disobedience to the command given husbands in Ephesians 5:25. Men who physically abuse their wives cannot legitimately claim that any action on the wife’s part justifies their use of brute force. To physically attack one’s wife is an inexcusable and unconscionable sin against her and against Christ. And to try to defend such violence–as some men do–by claiming on biblical grounds that the husband is the “head” of the wife is to corrupt the very idea of “headship.” Remember that God is the “head” of Christ and Christ is also the “head” of the church (1 Corinthians 11:3). So the expression involves not only leadership and authority, but also loving nurture and protection. “The husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body” (Ephesians 5:23). The husband who thinks his “headship” justifies a domineering, tyrannical, or brutal leadership has no grasp of the biblical concept of headship.
If a violence-prone husband becomes agitated and abusive, the wife should remove herself from danger, by leaving the home if necessary. God has promised that He will not test us beyond our ability to endure, but will always make a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). Sometimes escape is the only way. If you have children and they are in danger, take them someplace where you will be secure until you feel you may safely come back.” ~ John MacArthur

Yes, it is true that the Bible teaches separation at times, but it is far removed from the concept that is touted currently. We are taught to guard our hearts, avoid bad company, false doctrine, wolves in sheep’s clothing, immorality, one who claims the name of Christ but remains carnal or a hot tempered person. Our obedience is to our benefit to avoid sin and care for others who may be led astray but ultimately it is to honor God. To ignore the boundaries He has established is just as unbiblical as erecting boundaries He has not.

The concept of unbiblical boundaries ought to be rejected and a return to the Biblical boundaries God has created for loving Him and loving others.

He has drawn the lines, they are immutable – we need to honor and obey them.

“Man is responsible before God for all of these areas. He is responsible before God for the use of his God-given talents. He is responsible before God for his choices and behaviors. He is responsible to think God’s thoughts after Him, bringing every thought captive in obedience to Christ. He is responsible for the standards and values established by God in His Word, and certainly, he is to seek the approval of God rather than man. Feelings are not to dominate, but may reveal the condition of the heart and the need for godly change. Man is responsible to love God with all his heart, and to love others as much as he already loves self…Desires are to be brought into line with the will of God, as the Christian no longer lives for himself but rather to please, serve, and glorify God.” ~ Deborah Dewart, Westminister Seminary, attorney and author of Death of a Christian Nation


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