(The Danger of Freedom posted yesterday was an introduction to this article.)
His grace is sufficient in all of life for all He wills us to do and for all our physical needs. It is this sufficiency of the Lord, our God, that the title Bound by Grace was written and shared with other believers thirty years ago. He is the Everlasting One, the Creator of the ends of the earth – who neither faints nor is weary…. But giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increases strength.
It was His marvelous grace given one morning as I was in physical pain that prompted my heart to dwell on God’s will and His grace. The limitation of physical movement was sometimes the only time God could reach me – the position in which I was prone to really listen to Him and see beyond my point of view. But, oh, how wonderful were His revelations during those times and also, today.
In searching the meanings for the word bound in the dictionary, I thought I would find at least two. Many of you may have discovered that when we are on a treasure hunt, we usually find more than we expected – such is the Kingdom of our Lord.
We found four definitions with other words relative to the word bound. We will touch on each one as the definition relates to God’s grace – remembering that GRACE originated with God as unmerited and undeserved mercy and favor.
A. BOUND n. 1. a limit. 2. The territory on or limiting lines
1. To limit. 2. To border on another area; adjoin. 3. To demarcate.
The word BOUNDARY is a noun defined as something that marks a limit or border.
The picture came to mind of the lines drawn by a surveyor – lines that define our property. They enable us to know the limit and the borders of where we live.
We and our neighbors know our boundaries. Within these boundaries, there is a sense of freedom, security, and peace. We live, work, play, and invite others to enjoy the place set for us within these boundaries. We, in God’s kingdom, are given a place much like our physical home. We, in agreement with the surveyor, allow God to define His spiritual bounds (boundaries) within our physical boundaries – the unseen operating in that which is seen. He sets the limits and lines border between His kingdom and the kingdom of the world.
Defining the Boundaries
It is in the grace of our heavenly Father that He defines the boundaries between His kingdom and the world and sets the standards for enjoying these bounds. Those who have submitted to these limits and borders know the freedom, security, and peace set for them in and by God’s grace.
The thought came too, of keeping children within the properties where they live. Small children without knowing the dangers, sometimes venture beyond those limits if their caretaker is not there to restrict them. It is the grace of a loving Father that is able to keep His eye on us at all times. Under His care, we are assured we will not go beyond our boundaries. He keeps us and limits us for our sanctification and purification, to know His holiness and His deliverance in times of temptation. In the arms of grace, He sweeps us up and holds us when we venture too close to the boundary line (1Cor. 10:13; 1 Thess. 5:23-24; Heb. 13:20-21).
When someone or something gets too close, He shields by His grace from the predators of the world. To allow us beyond the BOUNDS OF GRACE would mean that He does not care for His own children. These boundary lines prove His love and His keeping for us. To think that death or injury to one of His children is to be beyond the BOUNDS OF GRACE is to call the grace of God unjust. Like the sky, His grace is always there, working even in death, injury and difficult situations. In any circumstance, His arms of grace are able to enfold and bind us even more closely to Him.
Imagine a child who falls (even within the spiritual boundaries, physical mishaps occur) and always seeks the tender — the caretaker – for comfort and for instructions against falling again. God’s grace draws us to Him, as He comforts and heals.
Knowing our Limitations
As we get older, we learn our limitations and accept with respect and adoration what the experience of His grace teaches us – not to fear the things of this world, but to fear Him.
The fear of God is meant to alert us to what happens when we are not submissive and obedient to the limit and border of His grace.
It is His grace to which we are bound and that of His own doing, not ours. By His grace, we are saved – by knowing Him to whom we are bound — through faith in Him who has bound us to Him through His Son, Jesus.
Without a knowledge of the truth about our heavenly Father, it is possible to take His grace in vain (2 Cor. 6:1) – even testing our limits. (This is testing God — Mt. 4:7) We may be deceived as we stand on the property line and listen to someone outside our limits, but He knows the deceivers and He knows His own children.
Lines of Demarcation
The word demarcate means a line of solid definition with no questions. Just as a surveyor gives a paper with the lines clearly drawn for our property, God’s grace is clearly defined by His Word, revealed by His Holy Spirit for guidance in seeing and understanding the lines set. We do not have to argue with our neighbor – within God’s kingdom or in the world.
Each child within God’s kingdom knows the line of demarcation. This line was clearly drawn for us in Christ at the cross. We are free in the spiritual boundaries of grace to move about in the physical world knowing what is off-limits, living daily according to the grace extended by the power of His will, wherever we are. In Christ, we are given God’s power to resist the temptations that surround us.
B. BOUND adj. 1. Confined by bonds. 2. Under obligation. 3. Enclosed in a cover or binding. 4. Certain.
There is a house on our property and within these walls, we have shelter, heat, clothing, food, and all our physical needs – according to God’s grace.
Without these walls, these things would deteriorate, blow away, melt, freeze or be stolen. We require the confinement coupled with the freedom to walk in and out of the structure according to His will. The confinement is good and works for our good.
This work of grace is on our behalf but there is an obligation. It must be maintained; with regular cleaning and repair. A house is enclosed to protect us from inclement weather and those who are not BOUND BY GRACE. Our faith is not in the houses that our heavenly Father provides but in Him the giver of all that we need.
God’s grace is revealed to us in Jesus Christ. He (God) was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself (2 Cor. 5:19) so that we might be brought by His grace – not that we might just come back anytime we wanted to on our own but by God’s grace, to be drawn to Jesus and therefore bind us to Him. He finds us and brings us to the Shepherd (Jn. 6:44-45, 63-65). The bonds are seen in the arms of the cross and in the blood of Jesus and His love that bought us. And because He has twice owned us – by creation and by redemptive grace—we are not our own. We owe all to Him. We are under obligation to Him for our physical and eternal life.
But He does not call in the debt which we could never pay. We are not billed but we have received a statement, sealed with His own blood – PAID. The covering and the binding are the bountiful mercies of God with the blood that washes whiter than snow, and makes us His own, sanctified and purified, holy and blameless, keeping our soul, mind, and spirit until Christ comes again (1 Thess. 5:23-24).
BOUND BY GRACE, our sins are covered and we are given power beyond our own nature over sin, never desiring to be loosed from our Creator and Redeemer.
We wear the mantle of praise and are anointed with the oil of gladness. The binding of God’s grace is woven through our whole being. We are certain that what He promises in the salvation of Jesus Christ is true—that the power of redemption works for our binding every moment of every day. He does not loose what He Himself binds to Himself. No one can snatch us out of His hand (Jn. 10:28-29).
C. BOUND v. 1. To leap forward; a spring. 2. To advance by leaping. 3. To bounce.
As we are BOUND BY GRACE, the Spirit of God creates His own energy. Within that which is willingly bound to Him, He is free to exercise the maximum of His grace. We are limited, but He is not. When our spirit is bound to His, something happens that we cannot explain. He creates a new heart and a new spirit (Ezekiel 36:26). He puts a new song in the heart that is bound to Him.
Eternal life from the Father to the child who lives continually in His presence – BOUND BY GRACE – knows no limits of His power, which we will discover in the last part — Free to Love.
Gracious Father, the God of all grace, who has called us to your eternal glory through Jesus Christ our Lord, we thank you and praise you for such a precious grace that does a powerful work in our hearts and lives. Fill us with your Spirit; continue keeping us and growing us in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whose name I pray. Amen.