Appointed Times and Boundaries - The Warrior's Journey®

Appointed Times and Boundaries

Author: Chaplain, COL Scott McChrystal, USA (Ret.)

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“From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.” (Acts 17:26-27) 

God Himself has established the times when nations shall rise and the boundaries of their domains. The same God who established human government (Genesis 9:6; Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-17) also divided that government up into nations and decided what their boundaries should be (Genesis 11:1-9). Therefore, we are to obey the laws which the government legislates – as we would obey God. And we should honor the borders of other nations – and are fully justified in enforcing our own. Note how God told Israel to respect the borders of other nations (Deuteronomy 2:4-12,18-23).   

But what about the Christian obligation to love our enemies and forgive those who have offended us (e.g. Jesus Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:38-48)? Doesn’t this require us to open our borders so that all who wish to partake of America’s bounty to do so? Actually, Jesus’ teaching on non-resistance and loving our enemies refers to personal responsibility. It is not meant to be adopted as government policy.   

The responsibilities of the individual believer and the government in which he/she lives differ from each other. For instance, no individual is free to exact his own justice on people who break the law or offend him personally (Romans 12:17-21). This is the government’s job (Romans 13:1-7). The individual’s responsibility is to love, forgive, be at peace with all people, and to seek the wellbeing of others. The government’s role is to provide a safe environment in which the individual can do this. Paul’s instruction to Timothy suggests this (1 Timothy 2:1-2). Paul tells Timothy to lead the church in prayer for kings and all those in authority. The goal of praying for our government is “that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all godliness and dignity.”  If a government fails to maintain law and order within its borders, then showing love and compassion to others becomes a dangerous practice.  For where anarchy abounds, the citizen is forced to defend himself and his family at all times. 

This is why Jesus’ teachings on love, forgiveness, and non-resistance can never be adopted as national policy. They are to be the practice of the individual before God. The government, however, bears the sword to protect and defend the individual (Romans 13:4). The armed forces and law enforcement are extensions of divinely-instituted government to defend the nation from all its enemies, both foreign and domestic.   


  • As an arm of the government, isn’t the military God’s instrument of justice? 
  • As soldiers, aren’t we serving God’s purpose, as well as that of America? 
  • Let’s pray that we might faithfully administer God’s justice through our service. 

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