in John's Gospel -- Part 7
Iron Curtains to the
By: A.J. Higgins, M.D.
By nature, birds build nests, beavers build dams, and
mankind builds walls. The figurative "Iron
Curtain" and the, once very literal, Berlin Wall
demonstrated that when men feel threatened, they resort
to walls: barriers to wall in, and fences to keep out.
We have learned well the lesson of that aged Vermont
poet that "good fences make good neighbors."
Men seek protection behind walls to shield their
vulnerability and keep the enemy away. The great walls
of ancient Babylon, the walls of Jerusalem, the still
standing great wall of China all testify to manís
natural instinct to wall himself away from others.
Tragically men employ the same logic in the spiritual
realm. The wall is built using the bricks of
presupposition and the mortar of time. Course is built
upon course. The wall rises. The defense is established.
Vulnerability is concealed. In place of conscience and
heart, we have a brick edifice without a door or window
In John five, we observe the Lord Jesus Christ surveying
these spiritual bastions and defining them, for that was
the necessary first step before they could be bridged
and the blessing of eternal life in Christ triumph in
the human heart. Is it surprisingly the first barrier He
The Ruse of Religion?
The Lord Jesus was speaking to men who made a practice
of searching the Scriptures. They thought they had the
knowledge of God yet failed to recognize God incarnate
before them. They never learned that the testimony of
all the Scripture was to a coming Messiah Who would save
sinners from the penalty and power of their sins.
Pulpit and platform today are filled by men who read
their Bibles and see only social causes, humanism, and
calls for moral justice. Somehow they have lost sight of
the fact that ever since Edenís garden echoed with the
sound of the gavel ringing out Godís sentence, God has
been working for the spiritual reclamation of Adamís
sonsí; his release from the tyranny of sin. For a man
may be sincerely religious, yet wrong.
The Misuse of Free
Will John 5:40
Theologians, moralists and philosophers have debated for
centuries why God created a creature, man, who could
sin. Suffice it to say that God chose to create a being
with free will. Man as created by God did not have to
sin. He chose to sin. Abuse of free will brought Adam
under judgment. God has in grace made salvation possible
by Christís shed blood upon Calvary. Man is now given
the choice to choose life or death.
The words of the Lord Jesus reveal that each man
continues to reenact the drama of Eden in his own life:
"Ye will not come to Me that ye might have
life." Men have taken Godís noblest gift to
mankind, free will, and used it to decide against God.
The Abuse of Honor
The Lord Jesus spoke of the honor that God confers upon
men: forgiveness of sins, eternal life. Men manage to
evade Godís honor by barricading themselves behind the
barrier of honor they receive from each other. Another
has called pride, "the great sin," the father
of all other vices. It is that evil we detest in others,
yet to which we ourselves are so blind.
Christ spoke to men who were so busy building the wall
of pride that they refused to humble themselves to think
their sin would keep them from heaven (John 8:21). They
were too proud to think that their religion was not good
enough to get them to heaven (John 8:30-39); too proud
to think that they needed a savior.
The tragic reality of pride is that is not only
"the great sin," but it is the blinding sin.
Pride engages a man in disdainful unbelief of what
transcends his own experimental knowledge. If Godís
Word comes in conflict with his own thoughts; then God
must be wrong. Another course is laid on the bricks of
Men build barriers. God is the great builder of bridges.
He has spanned the great chasm between Himself and man
when in the words of Peter, "Christ also hath once
suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He
might bring us to God." (I Peter 3:18). We must,
however, come out from our defensive positions and
expose ourselves to the light of Godís Word. God in
His love desires to reveal to us our need, our total
vulnerability, and then to meet that need in the work of
His Son upon Calvary. "When were yet without
strength, in due time, Christ died for the
ungodly." (Romans 5:6).
Have you stepped onto the bridge or are you behind your