Religion or Relationship?

Have you ever heard someone say about a person “they’re very religious”?

Then some people apply the term to some activity or habit, like “I ‘religiously’ follow my diet.”

What do you think of when you hear that word? What does “religion” mean, and why does it mean what it does to different people?

I suspect you have heard the expression “you can stand in the garage all you want, but it won’t turn you into a car.”

So, does going to church make you “religious?” If you’re a decent, moral, law-abiding citizen who goes to church every Sunday morning does that make you “religious”? You don’t drink, gamble, smoke, swear, or run around with people that do, does that make you “religious?”

Well, yes. That’s all It does.

Many people think of the Bible as a list of “Do Nots” – and if we follow that list carefully, then we’re good with God. Other people may think the Bible and attending church is a crutch people use to assuage their guilt and make up for not following the list. They are not entirely wrong.

The church is full of sinners. I’m one of them. We believers are there because we realize that without the Righteousness of Jesus Christ that became ours when we believed in Him, we’re lost from gaining eternal life with God.

More than that, we are adopted into the family of God as His children, and Jesus is not only our Savior but our Brother as well. He died on the Cross – a Perfect Sacrifice that fulfilled the religious law of atoning sacrifice – except this Sacrifice was once and for all.

11Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. –Hebrews 2

For by grace you have been saved, through faith…it is the gift of God. –Ephesians 2:8

We can never be ‘religious enough’ to earn God’s favor. We can never be moral enough, sober enough, loving enough, caring enough, helping enough that it will replace the sacrifice Christ has made for us. We just can’t.  Oh, we can be religious, but that’s all.

9What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. 10As it is written:

There is no one righteous, not even one; 11there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God.” Romans 3:9-11

21But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. –Romans 3:21-25

Love is based on relationship. A two-way, honest, open, personal knowing of each other. Jesus knows everything there is to know about you, and He wants you to get to know Him as well, and He has made available to you exactly how to do that.

Just ask Him. Believe. Repent. Accept His grace and mercy.

16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.