The conflict in the soul of man between Babel and Pentecost is an unending one. On the one hand there is the innate desire to launch out on the plane of self-determination, to be the captain of one’s own soul. On the other there is the call to receive that which is supernatural in origin and supernatural in its effect, through the transforming work and power of the Holy Spirit.

Humanism is tremendously appealing. What a lift to the ego to feel that we are capable of rising above our immediate limitations and of accomplishing great things for ourselves and for the world in which we live!

How humiliating to concede that within us there dwells no good thing; that this heart of ours is desperately wicked; that we stand guilty and condemned before a holy and just God; that our eternal destiny depends not one whit on anything which we can accomplish of ourselves.

The conflict of Eden has never ceased. To say that Eden never existed is but to deny that which we experience every day. Confronted with a “This is the way, walk ye in it”, we are tempted to follow “the way which seemeth right to man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”

Aware of a need and a dilemma we are told to dip in the Jordan of a simple faith in the atoning work of Christ, but we turn to the more attractive rivers of man-made philosophies.

Zealous in a religiosity into which we were born, and for which we have worked for many years, we avoid the confrontation of the risen and living Christ because we want the beauty of His life without the implications of His death.

The philosophy of Babel is as current today as in the day when men banded together to save themselves through a tower of their own making. Not only are the non-Christian religions evidence of this unending conflict but any religion which predicates man’s salvation on that which he can do for himself is but a reflection of those dramatic and tragic days on the plain of Shinar.

Although Babel is synonymous with confusion man still turns to the Babel of man-made ideas and away from divine revelation.

Although history reveals the end of those who defy God and refuse to believe His Word, the descendants of the tower builders are to be found on every hand: “Let us do this”, “Let us do that” is heard across the world. But God is not mocked. He still comes down to confuse, confound and scatter the unbelieving.

There is a dramatic antithesis between Babel and Pentecost.

Babel brings confusion of tongues and scattering of efforts. Pentecost brings a unity of expression in the Lord and an empowering to serve the Living God.

Babel was God’s judgment on a rebellious people. Pentecost was a mighty blessing on a praying people.

Babel scattered men to the oblivion of futility. Pentecost scattered men to the ends of the earth with a message and with power.

Babel divided. Pentecost united.

From Babel came no blessing. From Pentecost there came men filled with the Spirit of the living God and empowered to win others to a like precious faith.

The relevance of these philosophies to our own times is for all who will to see. Christ tells us, “For without me ye can do nothing”, while Paul cries out in triumph, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

Our Lord’s illustration of the vine and the branches was no trite analogy. Only as the branches abide in the vine can they bear fruit. Detached from the vine they wither and die.

Humanism is predicated on the self-sufficiency of man. Christianity is predicated on the utter hopelessness of man.

To confront man with the love of God in Christ can inflate his ego. To confront him with his sinfulness and then with the love of God, which offers pardon and redemption through the atonement of His Son, places man in his right perspective: to his sinful self and to a holy and loving God. Only by facing the awfulness of sin and the tremendous price paid to redeem us from that sin can we rightly evaluate the cost and the implications of the Cross.

Babel minimizes sin, questions judgment, denies the eternal separation of the unrepentant sinner from God, while at the same time it by-passes the blood of Calvary and expects Christ’s “example of divine love” to spark within the heart of the unsaved the will and the power to become new creatures.

Babel looks on conversion as a process in which man has a part. Pentecost looks on conversion as a supernatural act.

Pentecost was a visible act of the sovereign grace of God whereby there was poured out on those who had humbled their minds and hearts the Third Person of the Trinity.

Wherever the Church, or individual Christians, attempt to do the Lord’s work in the arm of flesh, their efforts are doomed. Dependence on the presence and power of the Holy Spirit is a grace to be cultivated and a practice to be pursued.

The Pentecostal experience of the early Church should be the individual experience of the Christian today.

But the “old man” with his concepts is ever with us and before we know it we are erecting a 20th Century tower of Babel as an evidence of our own foolishness, a structure already destined to destruction.

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Babel looks at the things which are seen; Pentecost fixes its eyes on the things which are not seen.

Babel has respect to the allurements and the values of the world; Pentecost looks to the city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

Babel tries to prove God. Pentecost simply trusts Him.

Babel lifts its head in rebellion against revealed truth and makes other plans and devises other ways. Pentecost bows its head in humility and accepts as fact those things which only the heart of faith can believe.

Babel is rationalism. Pentecost is faith. Babel is, “Who is the Lord that I should obey his voice”? Pentecost is, “Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief”.

Babel rejects revelation. Pentecost rejoices in it.

The conflict of which we speak is so real, so prevalent and so persistent that every Christian should cry out in prayer for forgiveness and right perspective.

We need to ask God to deliver us from the thought that we, like the men of Babel, can stand unashamed in His presence, or in any way contribute to our redemption.

We need to experience the gracious work of Pentecost,—a divine visitation whereby the Spirit of the living God comes to dwell in our hearts.


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