A barrier is something that keeps people out, but a bridge is something that allows people to come in. Being a bridge builder to the truth is a difficult assignment—not because of God, but because of our own hearts and the schemes of the Enemy.
John 8:31-32 says, “Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” The truth is that Jesus came to the Earth to die on a cross for our mistakes. He was perfect, and His death covered the debt that we can’t pay on our own. And then He rose again to show that He is stronger than even death and can give us the eternal life He promised.
That is a simple truth, and it’s a truth that sets us free from the hold that our sin has on us. Even though proclaiming it throughout the world is difficult, it isn’t our job to make it difficult for people to respond to it and come to God—they need to be set free, not held back by barriers we create.
Acts is a book about the early years of the Church, and in it, many people were trying to figure things out. Things were changing, and many of these new Christians couldn’t let go of their old traditions. Acts 15 talks about a group of people who were teaching that “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.”
Later on in Acts 15, Paul tells these Christians, “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.” In other words, he was saying, “Let’s not build barriers for them, and let’s encourage them not to build barriers for the Jews.”
1 Corinthians 9:20-23—“When I was with the Jews, I lived like a Jew to bring the Jews to Christ. When I was with those who follow the Jewish law, I too lived under that law. Even though I am not subject to the law, I did this so I could bring to Christ those who are under the law. When I am with the Gentiles who do not follow the Jewish law, I too live apart from that law so I can bring them to Christ. But I do not ignore the law of God; I obey the law of Christ. When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings.”
Our religious traditions, language, and culture aren’t what salvage us. Paul knew that, and he did his best to fit in with the culture he was trying to reach. He would do everything short of sinning to connect with as many people as possible so that he could share the Gospel with them. We are in the world—just not of it—and while we’re here, it’s our responsibility as members of the Church to build as many bridges to the truth as we can.