Religion or Relationship
“Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by works of the law or by hearing faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?”
Galatians 3:2-3 (ESV)
Who determines what makes man acceptable to God? God has established His plan for man and has revealed that plan in His written Word. The gospel contains God’s plan. The Good News is that we are made acceptable to God by believing in His Son Jesus. Salvation is not dependent upon our own works, but the work of God’s Son. Receiving God’s gift by faith in Christ is God’s way. Yet for many, God’s way is either offensive or requires additional human effort. So why is God’s gift offensive, and why do so many desire to change or adjust God’s plan? Could pride be the reason? This was what the apostle Paul was dealing with in his ministry so many years ago.
False religion is man’s way of becoming acceptable to God or any higher authority that one may believe. In a religion, man establishes the rules and determines what makes him acceptable. However, in a relationship with Christ, God makes us acceptable through the work of his son. Jesus lived a perfect life, died on the cross, and rose again on the third day to make us right in God’s eyes. Because of the work of Christ, we are brought into relationship with God. No longer do we have to work our way to Him. Rather, he reached down to us and received us into his arms.
This week, if you have received Jesus by faith, remember God does not want your religion, but desires a relationship so that His Spirit can produce good works in you.