Living Within the Margins

Written By: Chris Mace
Living Within the Margins

Englishman’s Bay, Roque Bluffs, Maine

Boundaries are essential for safe and happy living. Our natural world is guarded by certain principles, and we are fenced in by physical capabilities, intellectual limits, and moral constraints. With few exceptions, reason and conscience restrict human behavior. Our sense of right and wrong enables us to determine conduct which protects us from ourselves and keeps others safe from our bad inclinations. Evil results when those boundaries are corrupted.

Without these confines, men and women are emotionally and morally unstable. “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” (Proverbs 25:28) Without walls, we are vulnerable, unable to discern who or what persons or philosophies may or may not enter our hearts and minds, and can easily be destroyed or headed for turmoil because internal integrity can not be maintained.

For some, the concept of right and wrong raises the important question of why is there evil? There has to be a transcendent morality, some absolute standard of holiness and purity to which we ascribe, or morality becomes subjective, and we are free to determine our own morality based on what we think or desire. That would lead to chaos and to such horrific evils as racism or the killing of six million Jews to produce a “pure” race, and to declaring such wickedness as beneficial. Some use this argument of transcendent morality as proof of the existence of God, who has prescribed life principles as the basis for ethical living and expressing love so humanity can be healthy and happy. These laws may not be accepted by everyone as from God or as absolute, but non-adherence to them absolutely leads to unstable, unhappy, and unhealthy living.

Christ said he was bringing the Kingdom of God or the reality of God into our lives because we are broken and need his help to be righteous. Scripture proclaims that God’s love is too great to fully comprehend and that Christ died once for everyone who has or ever will exist. However, we discover that His Kingdom has its confines as well.

So, if God in Christ is so loving, why would he exclude anyone from His Kingdom? Scripture makes it equally clear that access to God’s Kingdom is restricted to those who wish to live under His good reign, to those who will trust Him and submit to His authority and rule. There are no “ungraced” scoundrels, no rebellious anarchists who want to subvert the peace and love and transcendence of the Kingdom with their own substandard, inglorious ways. Therefore, living within the confines of faith in God’s grace leads to living in His Kingdom. Otherwise, chaos would reign.

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