Religion Without Relationship?

Storytellers

Let’s do a word study.

God’s word in the very beginning goes out and brings life, it exposes darkness, and it divides.

These words divide the day from the night, the sea from the sky, and the people from animals.  We learn in the very first chapter of the very first book that our God is a preacher; he speaks truth and change happens.

As you move on to Genesis 3 we also find out that Satan is a preacher.  He comes in the form of the serpent and preaches a false gospel to our first Father Adam and our first Mother Eve.  Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.  He said to the woman, “Did God actually say….?Genesis 3:1

In Genesis 1 & 2 God literally says like 10 times, and in Genesis 3 Satan comes with a different sermon and goes, “Did God really say?  Is that what He really meant?  Surely, He didn’t mean that.”  And all of a sudden there is confusion, and you probably know the rest of the story.

I share that because I want you to know that there is a major conflict between God’s truth and a lie, good and evil, light and darkness.

So here’s some truth: NOT all preaching is good.  NOT all preaching is biblical.  NOT all preaching honors God.

I want to clarify a statement that we use at times in Christian circles.  You may have heard someone say, “It’s not about religion it’s about relationship.”

That statement alone, isn’t accurate.

A better phrase would be, “Religion without relationship is worthless.”

Because religion, in of itself isn’t bad.

If you look at the etymology of the word “religion” you’ll find that it means to “tie” or make a “bond”; in fact the root of the word is “lig” where we get our English word “ligament”.  Think of religion as the bond that holds everything together; like a marriage.

The word “bind” shouldn’t be viewed as prison chains, but instead as a covenant.  Covenant is simply an agreement between 2 parties.  And because more than 1 person has to be involved for there to be a covenant it lets us in that religion actually first requires relationship.

James 1:27 says, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”

Simply said, religion is to be pure.

We can’t forget that Jesus was a faithful Jew and the religion of Christianity was essentially birthed as a way for people to describe these followers of Jesus.  Christian simply means, “little Christ”.

My religion, my covenant to Jesus is found within the realm of Christianity.

It is based totally on my relationship with Him, it’s what holds it all together.

This lesser gospel that says, “Do this, say this, follow these rules, do good, say good, be good…then God will love you,” isn’t biblically accurate.

Our relationship with God isn’t based on how much good we can do, but it’s based on how much good Jesus has already done.

When you come to Jesus He doesn’t say, “And now I will give you a list”, instead he says, “And now I will give you rest”.

And I don’t know about you, but I sure could use some more rest.

Because He Lives, Pastor AB