“But may it not be for me to boast if it is not in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”—Galatians 6:14
“The wall in Berlin, you see, is not the first wall that has been built in this world to separate people from one another. The World has always had its iron curtains. We change the terminology but the fact has always been there: the middle wall of partition, Jews on one side, Gentiles on the other side, and between them, a bitter hatred and animosity, which we can scarcely even imagine.” -D.M. Lloyd-Jones
What I find to be interesting about walls is that we are so careless about how and where we put them up. Walls do not have to be bad things. A good, stout wall can provide a defense against the attacks of enemy armies. It can bring comfort to all who are within it when the guardsmen are alert on the ramparts. I have endeavored to make my home that kind of place. My desire is that the sin and foolishness of the world not be able to encroach upon those who live within the walls of my home. This carries over to how I treat my wife and son and it carries over to the expectations that I place on them. Our home, I intend, is to be a place of building up, not a place of tearing down.
Likewise, our churches should reflect the same thing. Like shepherds, pastors must protect and build up the flock that God has given them. The church needs to be a refuge from the infighting and the frantic pace of the world. The walls that we build around the church are not to keep people out, rather they are to keep the seeds of the serpent that inundate our culture out. In a very real way, the church within should look very different than the world without.
Yet, sin muddles things up, doesn’t it? Sin causes us to build walls inside of our homes and within our church. No longer are the walls a sign of defense, but they become a thing of separation. We have a long tradition of building these kinds of walls, built with stones of pride and ignorance. The first of these human walls was built as far back as Eden, when Adam and Eve chose to break covenant with God and eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. While we don’t talk about it much, the thing that I think is amazing is that neither Adam nor Eve was repentant when confronted by God; they just played the blame-game. In that act, a wall was created between creation and God that could never be breached from our side.
But what a gracious God we serve. God paid the price of his only son on the cross, breaching the wall from the other side. Like prisoners of war that have been broken from our dark and filthy cells and brought out into the light, we who have been saved from our sin are indebted beyond comprehension to our Savior! We put up a wall that we could never hope to break down, but Christ shattered it!
To those who would accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, believing in their heart and confessing with their lips, God has given them eternal life. And he builds another wall around them, and what a wall it is! For this wall is one that does not separate one from God, but is a wall that joins them together in covenant permanently, for God will permit none of his chosen to slip from his hand (John 10:29).
We must take the time to survey the walls that we have constructed in our lives. We must look for cracks in those meant to defend against the attacks of the evil one and we must seek to tear down the ones that separate us from our families, our neighbors, and others around us. Christ has torn down the wall between us and God, let us tear down the walls between us and man that we might take the gospel to every corner of the world and apply it to every corner of our life.