Updated: Nov 1
By Drew Zuverink
"For if while we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his son, how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved through his life!"
I came across an excerpt from, "Man of His Word: The Promise Keepers New Testament," that I'd like to share with you. The author is attempting to describe the broken relationship between humans and God. Try and see if you can figure out why this is problematic.
"God's love is strong, fatherly and complete. Men from all over the country are beginning to understand this relationship for the very first time. Many of us, some for years, have been trying to gain God's approval by performance—doing good things. But it is impossible to live like God's sons before we're in a relationship with him. A wall of separation has come between God and man. Instead of a relationship, we find a barrier. But there is good news!"
We Built A Wall of Separation
Did you catch how there is no agency mentioned? The author writes that "A wall of separation has come between God and man. Instead of a relationship, we find a barrier." This makes it seem like a wall just appeared out of nowhere. But of course we know that walls and barriers don't just come, someone has to build them. So yes, there is a wall of separation between humans and God, but it exists because we created it.
The truth is that we had the opportunity to be with God but we ruined it. We actually had the opportunity to be in relationship with God but we chose to rebel and join his enemy the devil instead. Sounds harsh right? That's why we like to use phrases like, "A wall appeared," because it doesn't make us feel as bad. But the truth is that we willfully chose the devil's kingdom of selfishness, hurt, destruction, sin, and evil. No wonder people don't feel close to God, they're fighting for the other team.
God Tore The Wall Down
The truth is that when it comes to our relationship with God, all we get credit for is creating distance. We are 100% to blame for our broken relationship with God and he is 100% responsible for mending it. So if your unbelieving friend wonders why there's distance between them and God, it's because of them. And if you as a Christian wonder why God seems distant, it's because of you as well. God doesn't create distance, he only brings closeness. We are the ones who create distance with our sin.
The unique and beautiful part of the Christian story is that, while we were still enemies, Christ died for us. Neither you nor I removed one single brick from the wall that separated us from God. Even right up to the moment of conversion, I was adding bricks of separation. But God said, "Enough!" and he tore the wall down.
It's humbling to meditate on the fact that we are completely responsible for our broken relationship with God. It would make us feel better if God was at least partly responsible as well, and sometimes we try to convince ourselves of that. We think things like, "Well God wasn't close to me during that hard time," or, "I prayed to him and he didn't answer." But the truth is that we are the only ones to blame for the distance that's between us and God. And when it comes to our reconciled relationship, God is the only one who gets credit. He is the one who worked in our hearts and drew us towards him. He is the one who melted our hearts of stone and opened our eyes to see the deceitfulness of sin. We didn't do anything to mend our relationship, God did it all. We simply received the benefits of his hard work.
None of this makes us look very good, right? But that's the point. When we accept these truths, sure it makes us look bad, but it makes God look very good. And learning to see just how good our God is, that's where true life change happens. Because the higher we think of God, the more we will love him. And the more we love him, the more we will enjoy him.