January 17, 2018

Religion or Relationship? (Part 2)

George Stiekes

Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee (Jeremiah 31:3).

We all know that religion will never get anyone into heaven. If God chose not to act on our behalf, no one would get into heaven. He is the first and only “Cause” and He is not at all interested in man’s religions (over 4,000 different religions in the world today).

  • Religion is man attempting to reach God man’s way. There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death (Proverbs 14:12). There is absolutely nothing that man can do that can ever please God (Romans 8:8). Religion becomes nothing more than a system of works and rule keeping, trying to get to heaven and pleasing God by doing good works (Isaiah 53:6; 64:6;Romans 3:23; 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-9).
  • Christianity is God reaching down to man and making every provision for His salvation and everlasting life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you (John 15:16). God did for us what we could never do for ourselves (Colossians 2:13).

God loved us and gave Himself for us (Romans 5:8; Ephesians 2:4; 5:2; 1 John 4:10, 11, 19). It is His desire that you love Him with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind (Matthew 22:37). The very word “love,” speaks of relationship and not religion — His love for us and our love for Him.

We are instructed to pray, Our Father which art in heaven (Matthew 6:9). The very word Father indicates relationship. We speak of God as being our Father (Romans 1:7; I Corinthians 1:3; Galatians 1:4). In Christ, we have been adopted into the family of God whereby we cry, Abba, Father (Romans 8:15). For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26; 4:6), not just any children, but DEAR children (Ephesians 5:1). The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God (Romans 8:16). Again, this is a relationship that God Himself established with those whom He chose to call His children.

Jesus spoke of those who believe on Christ that they all may be one: as Thou Father, art in me, and I in Thee, that they also may be ONE IN US (John 17:21). The “oneness” that He spoke of clearly reveals relationship. This indication is even stronger in verse 24 when Jesus said, Father, I will that they also, Whom Thou hast GIVEN ME, BE WITH ME where I am; that they may behold my glory, which Thou hast given Me... (John 17:24). The desire of Christ is that we be WITH HIM and He has promised to RECEVE US UNTO HIMSELF in a prepared place (John 14:3) which He refers to as His Father’s House (John 14:2).

No one “signs up” to become a Christian or even chooses to do so. As Christians, we are born into the family of God (John 3:3), born from above. This is a second birth which again clearly reveals RELATIONSHIP. In John 3:3, the word “again” literally means “from above.” It is the same word Jesus used when responding to Pilate in John 19:11. Thou couldest have no power at all against Me, except it were given thee FROM ABOVE. The new birth is a SECOND BIRTH in addition to our physical birth and thus John 3:3 uses the word “AGAIN.” We are born into the FAMILY of God. That’s RELATIONSHIP!

Thank God today that He loved you and brought you into His family. Recognize that there is nothing at all that can ever separate us from this eternal love relationship (Romans 8;35). George Robinson wrote:

O this full and perfect peace,
O this transport all divine
In a love which cannot cease,
I am His and He is mine.

Part One of Two appeared on Monday.

George Stiekes held successful pastorates in churches in Michigan and Washington among other places. He currently resides in North Carolina and blogs at Reverent Reflections. We recommend his ministry and republish his material by permission.

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