Saturday, December 5, 2015

It's not a Religion, It's a Relationship

To be in a relationship means to be related or interrelated. It's a connection or binding of two participants through a kinship; a feeling of being close or connected to someone. To be bound or connected takes a mutual attraction or desire to be linked together. If you think of it in scientific terms, a connection requires that two variables be compatible and attracted to one another in order to unite. One variable must be accepting to the other. If one variable isn't compatible, or doesn't have the right forces within itself, a connection can not take place.

If relationships are a shared mutual attraction between two people where both share the same desire to be a part of the other, then I have to say, I failed at times to meet my end of the connection. If you think about it,  what does it take to have a real effective relationship; with family, friends, or spouses? It takes work within both people, right? Both have to be willing to make the relationship connect. Both have to have it within their hearts; to be compatible; attracted or have a desire to be connected.

God desires to have a relationship with us; to dwell with us. John 1:14 says,
"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us."
Being a Christian, or a follower of Jesus, isn't about following a set of rules or laws. It isn't about following certain religious ceremonies. Unfortunately, many people believe that's what being a Christian is all about and they believe that Christians are hypocrites because they don't follow all the rules in the Bible; like the rules in the Old Testament. Paul tells us in Galatians 2:16,
"know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law because by the works of the law no one will be justified."
There is no one that can follow the law, exactly as written, in the Old Testament and not fail. Only one person was ever able to follow the law without fail; without sinning. One, and that person was sacrificed for the rest of us. He was perfect and He died for us so that we would not be condemned for sin. The law was put in place by God to show the world what sin is. How else are we supposed to know what sin is if the commandments and law were not put in place? Paul goes on in Galatians 2:19-21,
"For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!" 
Like so many, when I grew up going to church. you had to dress a certain way; your Sunday best. You had to conform to what everyone else said to do. Every service at church had to be performed a certain way. Some people even sat in the exact same seat every week. It seemed that, in order to prove your faith, it was expected that you perform. That is NOT what it means to be in a relationship with Jesus. We are not saved because we follow a set of rules or human expectations. No one can obtain righteousness by following every commandment and law. We obtain righteousness through the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

Jesus came so that we can be saved. He gave His life for us and became the curse of sin and death for us.
"Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming the curse of the law for us, for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hung on a pole." Galatians 3:13 (Deuteronomy 21:23)
It is only when we have a relationship with Him that we can be saved. When we come to the realization that it is only by the grace, love, and mercy of Jesus that we can be saved from the curse of the law, we can ask Jesus to forgive us and have a relationship with us. It isn't about rules. It isn't about performing for others. It is about accepting your weakness as a human and receiving His strength as our kinsman.

All of us have sinned and we all fall short of the glory of God. Because of this, God sent Jesus as our atoning sacrifice, through the shedding of His blood. Jesus died, rose again, and conquered death for you and me because neither one of us can keep God's law. Jesus lives among us. He loves us that much and wants to dwell with us. How can we go on living as if we are not in a relationship? It is through that mutual relationship that he becomes our kinsmen; related, connected, adopted sons and daughters.

Going back to what a relationship is - it is a mutual attraction. A connection between two by a bonding force. Jesus (God) already desires that connection with you, but do you have a mutual attraction for Him? Do you have a desire for a relationship with Him? Will you open all of your heart to Jesus and to allow Him full and complete access?

Being a Christian isn't about following a RELIGION; a set of rules, ceremonies, or laws. It is about following Jesus and having a mutual relationship with Him. And it requires all that comes with it; love Him, glorify Him, talking to Him, and filling your hearts with Him. Because it is only through the mutual attraction and connection with Jesus that we have a relationship with God the Father. Jesus is the bonding force between God and us.
"For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together." Colossians 1:16-17

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