Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Moving the boundary - an international incident

All photos courtesy of Unsplash

Earlier this year, a farmer driving his tractor noticed a large stone in his path, and moved it out of the way. Such an event would not normally cause headlines, but it did on this occasion, for the stone had been there for two hundred years, marking the border between Belgium and France. Thus, ‘on the ground’, the farmer was increasing the size of Belgium by about 7.5 feet, and reducing France by the same amount! It appears that he did not know the significance of his action, but it was serious nonetheless; for the boundary had been established by a treaty in 1820, and no-one had the right to move it.

That reminds me of a boundary that God has set up: between right and wrong, truth and error, good and evil. Some people deny its existence, or ignore it, while others think that they can decide for themselves where it lies. However it remains, fixed, and we all have transgressed it: “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not” Ecc 7. 20. That is a serious matter, whether we realise it or not, for sin is against God, and we must face His judgment for it: “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” Ezk 18. 20. “The wicked shall be turned into hell” Ps 9.17.

Although the farmer was in the wrong, the authorities had a forgiving attitude, and informed him that if he returned the stone to its proper place he would not face charges. Yet they also made it clear that if he refused to comply, a border commission would be convened, and he could suffer a large fine. I am glad to tell you that God does not want you to face the consequences of your sins either, and He offers a merciful solution to you. “The Lord … is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” 2 Pet 3. 9.

However, unlike the man putting back the stone, you cannot make things right yourself. Only God could take the necessary action, and He did so, sending His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world. He, the pure, holy, sinless One, bore the judgment for our sins when He suffered and died, on the cross. “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed” Isaiah 53. 5. He “knew no sin”, but God “made Him to be sin for us … that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” 2 Cor 5. 21. This right standing before God is freely received by all who repent and put their faith in Him.

I hope that the farmer admitted his wrong, appreciated the goodwill of the powers that be, and accepted their offer for resolving the problem. He would be very unwise to be stubborn, knowing the grave implications for him. Yet, sadly, there are many people today who are told that they are sinners, and offered God’s gracious way of forgiveness through our Lord Jesus Christ, but who wilfully refuse to accept it. For all such, the consequences are truly solemn: to stand in judgment, not before a border commission, but the great white throne, and therefrom to be “cast into the lake of fire” Rev. 20. 15. “To you is the word of this salvation sent” Acts 13. 26. Be wise, and receive this salvation today, by trusting God’s Son, and accepting the gracious provision He has made.

Used by kind permission of Assembly Testimony 


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