Relationship Not Religion

Les Miserables trailer - 1If this world was made by a triune God, relationships of love are what life is really all about. – Timothy Keller

Why, why is relationship so important and specifically this relationship between God and ourselves ? Without God, without belief that Christ has done what I could not, without an understanding that I am broken and lost and made for relationship with God and there was nothing that I could do to repair this relationship, there can be no relationship. And it is this relationship that brings what is dead, alive again. So, “the Word became flesh”, Jesus was born to die, to live the life that I could not, die the death that I deserved and defeat death through his resurrection and be given the keys to hell itself. See relationships are alway based on something, shared interests or benefits received or some kind of transaction. Our relationship with God rests solely on the work of Christ, on my behalf, doing what I could not and bringing me back into his family. So many times though, this gets lost. The pure, unadulterated Gospel, the Good News, gets lost. Tullian Tchividjian says it this way in his book One Way Love, 

“Unfortunately, this is the way that so many Christians live: searching high and low for something we already have, trying to earn something we’ve already been given, forgetting that everything we need, we already possess in Christ. Or perhaps it’s not that we forget, perhaps it’s that we prefer having ‘elf on the shelf’ keeping track of our every move. It makes us feel safer. We would rather work under duress than live under freedom. Yet this is precisely why we need to hear, each and every week, the basic good news that because of Jesus’s finished work, we already have all of the justification, approval, significance, security, freedom, validation, love, righteousness, and rescue for which we desperately long – and look for in a thousand things that are infinitely smaller than Jesus.”

lesmis_0159This is what we have to share with the world, this is the Good News we have. Don’t forget, it’s not about doing good things, it’s about resting in the grace of what God has done for us though Christ and living that out and sharing that with others. Paul lays it out simply in Ephesians 2:1-10 when he says,

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

What we have to offer others is a relationship not a religion. That relationship is based on the blessed union of Christ’s work covering our sin. It is the most radical, earth-shattering relationship anyone can experience and it starts with, “We love because he first loved us” not the other way around. It starts and ends with what he’s done, because there will never be a time we outgrow the need for Christ’s work on a cross.

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