A bridge is a structure built to span physical obstacles such as a body of water, valley or road, for the purpose of providing passage over the obstacle. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bridge accessed September 19, 2015]
There are a multitude of examples of bridges that we can find or have occasion to cross.
In Knoxville we have the Henley Street Bridge, which is well over 100 years old, and is the site of fireworks during holiday celebrations.
The interstate takes its course over this incredible bridge as we traveled across the Mighty Mississippi River.
The bridge at Multnomah Waterfalls along the Columbia River Highway, Oregon enables people to get up close to the waterfalls without killing themselves on the slippery rocks or without being pummeled by the pressure of the water falling over the edge over 500 feet overhead. [See: http://www.waterfallsnorthwest.com/nws/falls.php?num=4051%5D
Then we have a footbridge across the creek in the Great Smoky Mountains. Not every bridge is a sterling example of engineering marvels. Here, the bridge accomplishes its important purpose with dignity and a simplicity that is beautiful in its own right.
The bridge over the Mississippi River at Vicksburg is iconic as well as fundamentally important, being one of the links between the East and the West of our country.
While different in materials, design, location and terrain surrounding each bridge, the fundamental purpose is the same – to provide safe passage from one side to the other. There is a chasm from which passage is either extremely difficult or impossible and the bridge enables us to move unhindered across that chasm, if we will but avail ourselves of its presence.
In 1956 I had occasion to visit the Royal Gorge in Colorado. It was an event for which I have vivid recollection because of the impact it had on me – the depth of the gorge was mind boggling and its presence in the middle of, what seemed to me to be, nowhere made a lasting impression. I could not fathom how anyone could cross this incredible tear in the fabric of the ground!
But someone did — many years before. There was a bridge over the Royal Gorge to make travel across the gorge both possible and safe. I admit to being panicked when my father drove across the bridge, but we were safe.
All of us are subject to a chasm that renders the Royal Gorge insignificant … the chasm between righteousness and sin. Romans 3:23 says, simply and concisely, that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”.
We may think that we have done such good things that God will surely let us enter His Heaven, but if we have not repented of our sin and confessed Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we may be like the Pharisees in Luke 16 where Jesus said:
“You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” Luke 16:15
Indeed, Jesus said: “No one is good except God alone.” Mark 10:18.
In short, we need to bridge the gap between us and our unrighteousness (also known as sin) and the Holy God, Who cannot look upon sin. Isaiah learned this as a result of the vision he had in the year that King Uzziah died. Isaiah 6:1-8. Isaiah saw the Lord on His throne, high and lifted up. And the seraphim that stood by the throne called and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.”
Isaiah’s response was not to say something like “Hey there – here I am and you should be glad that I have come, after all, I am your prophet and have a lot of clout on earth! Look at all the times I did what you wanted and what I have accomplished for you!”
Quite the contrary – Isaiah said:
“Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”
After this, the seraphim took a coal from the altar and touched his lips saying:
“Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”
Only after this did God speak and Isaiah responded. God cannot look upon sin!
Isaiah’s response when he was confronted with the holiness of God was “Woe is me!” Isaiah became aware that sin is not fixed simply by “washing up and looking good” – it is a fundamental condition that we are powerless to cure. It took action by God to cleanse Isaiah so he could minister as God wanted.
Like Isaiah, we can do nothing to fix our own condition. But, One has come and has bridged the gap for us – He became the way we can come before the Holy God and call Him “Abba, Father!”
In Philippians 2:5-8, Paul writes:
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, bring born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
The sinless One became sin for us so that we, who have no righteousness in our own selves, could be covered in His righteousness. His sacrifice made our acceptance before the Holy God possible – we stand in His righteousness claiming Jesus as our Savior and, miracle of miracles, God the Father accepts us as His children. Not because of anything good we have done – all because of the acts of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Father, I thank you and praise Your Holy Name for sending Jesus Christ as the sacrificial lamb Who secured salvation for those who call upon His Name, repent of their sin, and confess Him as Lord and Savior of their lives. Thank you for providing a way for us to breach the chasm that sin created, and I praise Your Name for adoption into the family of our Lord Jesus Christ. In Whose Name I pray, Amen.