Broken Barriers (Sermon 6-19-2022)

The Bible opens with very few details. “In the beginning God…” We know that God created man and placed him in a beautiful garden. When we begin reading in the 3rd chapter of Genesis, we see that the serpent convinces Adam and Eve to go against the direct commandment from God. As a result, therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. (Genesis 3:23 NASB)

There is a separation. In verse 24 of Genesis 3, God places an angel to serve as a barrier to keep Adam from returning to the garden. As we continue to read in the Bible, we see that mankind continues to do things that runs contrary to the will of God. When we read the 6th chapter of Genesis, we find that wickedness has become the norm rather than the exception.

Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. The Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. (Genesis 6:5-8 NASB)

The good and perfect God is grieved by the wickedness and sets out to place the ultimate barrier between Him and His creation. He will destroy the inhabitants. Yet, Noah and his family is spared.

Time marches on and Noah and family repopulate the world. Then in chapter 11, the various tribes come together to build a tower that will reach the heavens. God creates another barrier. He creates various languages and thus the tribes cannot communicate any more and they scatter.

God’s plan was to reconcile his ultimate creation, man, has been evident from the earliest days. We know this because we can read about the promise in Genesis 3:15. The first veiled mention of a plan to remove the barrier of sin that separated man from God.

Once we see the barrier of the various languages create separate groups of people, the Bible begins to focus on one man and his family. The same chapter that told us of the languages and the confusion that resulted, draws us to that focus with these words: Abram and Nahor took wives for themselves. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah and Iscah. Sarai was barren; she had no child. (Genesis 11:29-30 NASB) The beginning of the 12th chapter starts with a well-known promise from God to Abram. It is a promise to bless him and his family. Here God promises to Abram and his baren wife will father a great nation. God then assures Abram that all of the other families will receive blessings through Abram’s family.) And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed. (Genesis 12:3b NASB)

From this point on, the Bible focuses on the defendants of Abram (later known as Abraham). We could easily recall the many events that marked the history of this family. I do want us to make note of a few more details before we come to our scripture for today.

One of those events occurs when Moses has gone up the mountain to receive the law from God and while he was gone, the children of Israel made a golden calf and worshiped it. Moses goes to God and begged for forgiveness for the children of Israel.

But now, if You will, forgive their sin—and if not, please blot me out from Your book which You have written!” The Lord said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book. (Exodus 32:32-33 NASB)

God tells Moses and us the simple truth that sin separated us from God. Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book. That is a serious separation. Sin creates a barrier that causes God to blot out our names from His book.

Later, in the history of Israel, the prophet Micah issued a warning to the nation. This warning tells us that God can and will not accept sinful behavior.

Then they will cry out to the Lord, but He will not answer them. Instead, He will hide His face from them at that time because they have practiced evil deeds. (Micah 3:4 NASB)

A contemporary of Micah, Isaiah issues a similar warning and even tells some of the specific actions Israel had done. Isaiah tells us that it isn’t that God is limited in His ability, but our actions create that separation.

Behold, the Lord’s hand is not so short that it cannot save; nor is His ear so dull that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken falsehood, your tongue mutters wickedness. (Isaiah 59:1-3 NASB)

Our sins create a barrier between us and God. God cannot and will not live with or accept sinful behavior. He blots out the names of sinners, He hides His face from those who do evil deeds, and He hides His face from people living in sin.

A careful study of the Law tells us that the Law never promised to break down the barrier caused by sin. Rather, the Law defined sin. It became a guide to show us the unacceptable behavior. It teaches us how we should love and respect God and how we should love and interact with our neighbors. It against this backdrop that Paul writes to the church in Galatia. Let’s open our Bibles to the 3rd chapter of Galatians and consider what Jesus has done that the Law never did. In this letter, Paul is countering Jewish Christians who are once more trying to impose Jewish laws and traditions on Christians. Paul writes to explain the place of the Law and the role of Jesus. Drop down to verse 19 of the 3rd chapter as we read.

Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made. (Galatians 3:19 NASB)

Paul raises the question “What is the purpose of the law?” He then tells us that the law came into being because of human transgressions. Cain killed Abel; yet there is no record that killing was defined and wrong. As we reviewed several items this morning showing God’s displeasure with the actions of humans, until the Law was given, there was nothing to tell us such actions were wrong. So, the Law became the instrument to instruct us in what God views as right and wrong.

We should also note that in Paul’s comments, the Law was temporary until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made. The seed of woman who would crush the head of the serpent (Genesis 3:15). The Law identifies sin but cannot cleanse us from sin. So, is the Law contrary to God? Paul tells us it is not. Yet, the Law is not able to do what is accomplished through and by Jesus.

Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law. But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. (Galatians 3:21-22 NASB)

The Law is not opposed to God. If we could live in perfect harmony with the Law, we would never violate any of the Law and thus never suffer the punishment prescribed by the Law. However, once we fail on one point of the Law, we are under the penalty of the Law and there is no provision to remove that guilt. This is where the grace of God as revealed through Jesus enters and brings salvation.

For by grace, you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10 NASB)

Grace is not a part of the Law. Grace is a gift from God and is revealed through Jesus. The Law had its purpose until Jesus came.

But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. Therefore, the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. (Galatians 3:23-25 NASB)

The Law served as an instructor to teach us the expectations of God. The Law was to lead us to the Christ. Christ does not destroy the Law but rather come to bring us the grace of God. Our salvation comes through God’s grace. Jesus, in His own words tells us: “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. (Matthew 5:17 NASB)

Jesus came to break barriers. The barriers of race, ethnicity, and gender are no longer recognized by the children of God. Those who have been baptized into Christ have been clothed in Christ have broken the barriers.

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise. (Galatians 3:23-29 NASB)

The barrier that separated different clans and families is gone. The promise to Abram of blessing all nations through his family is now fact. The promise John mentions in his gospel is a reality.

There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:9-13 NASB)

Are you a child of God? Not everyone can be a child of God. Have you believed in the one who has broken barriers that separate you from God?

Recent Posts

See All

There is an amazing piece of art done by a Korean artist which is unique. It took him two years to complete the scroll. The artist meticulously drew the picture by hand with a very fine tipped pen. It