Scripture references taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
The Wall Ron Lair BibleInsightsMag.com firstname.lastname@example.org
©Copyright 2009 Ron Lair, Bible Insights Magazine All rights reserved
hat is it that separates us from God? Why does He seem so distant to us? Why do our prayers seem to just bounce off of the ceiling? Virtually everyone that acknowledges the existence of God has struggled with this question. Deep down, we know that if we can some how tear down that wall, we will find the comfort and peace that we so desperately need. But the wall still stands. So, we’re back to our original question… What is this wall? Until we know what it is, it will remain standing and we will continue to be barricaded from the presence of God. Even though the identity of the wall may not be clear from this side, God can plainly see it. He not only sees it, He has told us exactly what the wall is. The most exciting thing is that He says that the work of demolition has already been done and the wall will crumble if we really want it to! So, put away your pick axes, wrecking balls, and dynamite charges that haven’t put a dent in the wall, anyway. Listen to what. God has to say about it.
God says, “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull to hear, But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.” [Isaiah 59:1,21] The wall is sin. This passage contains a wealth of Information about the wall that we need to understand. The first thing we see is that God didn’t build the wall. We are not separated from God because of His inadequacies. It is our iniquities (sins) that separates us from God. Just as we aren’t able to see another’s face through a wall, we can’t clearly see God through our sin. Sin. . . that outdated concept that we’ve expelled from our thoughts as well as our vocabularies. Slip that word into almost any conversation and watch the eyebrows turn up! We would rather think in terms of weaknesses, mistakes or deficiencies. But sin is much more than a trivial mistake. Sin is willful disobedience, a crime against spiritual laws, rebellion against God. If we’re serious about removing this wall, we have to really try to overcome our tendency to minimize our concept of sin. We can’t just shrug it off by saying, “Oh well, no one is perfect.” Sin is more than an act. It’s a life-style that begins virtually at birth. Sin doesn’t come from exposure to an evil world, but is a trait that every person is born with. David recognized that from our very beginning, sin already has a hold on us: “Surely I was sinful at my birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” [Psalms 51:5] I saw proof of this, in a very practical way, as I began raising my family. I noticed that my little toddlers had no need of any lessons in “How to Tell a Lie.” It came very natural to them. I never had to buy one textbook that explained the art of lying, selfishness, or disobedience. I spent my parenting days, however, trying to teach them honesty, sharing, and obedience. And sometimes it seemed to be a losing battle. There’s no doubt about it, we are all sinners by nature and by choice. God has made it very clear that the wall of sin surrounds every one
of us: “There is no one righteous, not even one.” [Romans 3: 10], “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” [Romans 3:23], “If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His word has no place in our lives.” [I John 1: 10] But, if we all are in the same boat, why is it such a big deal? Isn’t God being unreasonable? One reason that we fall to see the terrible aspects of sin, is that we really don’t have an adequate understanding of God. We tend to see Him as a cosmic killjoy who looks around for folks having fun... and stops them. And as long as our concept of God is so limited, we won’t be able to comprehend His attitude toward sin. God’s foremost attribute is His perfect holiness. He is completely separate from everything sinful. His holiness is, by nature not some arbitrary standard that He has set for Himself. It is one of the traits that make up His character. Just as He is, by nature, eternal and nothing can end His existence, He is holy and must remain separated from sin. Can you begin to see how our sins are a barrier between us and God? We have seen that sin has it’s consequences in our lives. The question now arises: How does this wall relate to death? It’s interesting to note that the Bible always views death as separation. According to the Bible, there are actually two types of death (separation). The first type occurs when we physically die and are separated from our bodies. The other type of death is much more horrible. The Apostle John describes this in very vivid terms: “But the cowardly, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters, and all liars their place will be the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death” [Revelation 21:8] As much as we may dread the first death, the second is infinitely more appalling. It is complete and final separation from God. Its victims are condemned to spend eternity apart from the Holy One and everything that is good. OK, you say, the wall of sin is a serious thing and the consequences are really dreadful. But, didn’t you say that the wall has been demolished
and we can watch it crumble? Yes! Just imagine the Apostle Paul celebrating the collapse of the wall (just like Joshua at Jericho) with these words from I Corinthians: “Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin… But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” I Corinthians 15:54-57 You see, God knows exactly what the wall is made of and He knows that we are incapable of doing anything about it. So, He took the initiative, putting on a man body and experiencing separation for us. Jesus’ mission on earth wasn’t primarily to heal the sick, although He was called the Great physician. It wasn’t to feed the hungry, although He is the bread of life. It wasn’t to be an example for us to pattern our lives after, even though we certainly need one to follow. Jesus, first and foremost, came to die.1 The Bible sums up all that we’ve been saying in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death (separation), but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Jesus died to pay the price of sin for us. What does sin cost? Death, according to the previous verse. Can you see the contrast in that verses? We can receive the wages that we’ve earned (death) or we can receive a gift that we cannot earn (eternal life). We can stay behind our wall forever or we can allow God to knock it down. It ‘s our choice. If you want be reconciled to God,2 all that you need to do is accept His death as full payment for your sins and trust Him for His gift of eternal life. There’s no good deed or act of penitence that you can do in exchange for eternal life. -It’s a gift. Just believe and receive3 and watch the walls come tumbling down!
(Endnotes) 1 Even His name speaks of this mission. Jesus is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Joshua which means “The Lord saves.” 2 see II Corinthians 5:16-21 3 see John 1:12, 13
What is it that separates us from God? Why does He seem so distant to us? Why do our prayers seem to just bounce off of the ceiling? Virtually everyone that acknowledges the existence of God has struggled with this question. Deep down, we know that if we can some how tear down that wall, we will find the comfort and peace that we so desperately need. But the wall still stands. Find out how to bring down the wall and reconnect with God.