Religion versus relationship

By Deniliquin Pastoral Times

“You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matthew 22:37).

There are many ideas and concepts that may surprise you about Christianity; ideas that often get passed as being ‘Christian’ that are, in fact, not.

One of them is this: Christianity is about being religious.

But Christianity is, in fact, less about being religious and more about being in a relationship, namely with God.

Religion, at its core, is about what people can do to earn the favour of God in order to keep him happy — and let them into heaven.

Religion thus focuses on rules and rituals in order to get right with God by our own good efforts.

Christianity is not merely a moral framework to live good lives by in the feeble hope of hitting the eternal life jackpot. It is how we relate to God.

Jesus says the ‘‘first and greatest commandment’’ is to ‘‘love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind’’.

Love here is a relational word that speaks of a total commitment to God.

The Bible also says that we love God because he first loved us! (1 John 4:19).

God made the first move through sending his son Jesus to take the punishment we deserved because of our sin.

And all who put their faith in Jesus can know and experience the love of God for eternity.

Through Jesus we can have a relationship with God.

God desires a relationship first, not religion.

Christians certainly strive to do good; but they do good out of their love for God and what he has done in Jesus.

~ Contributed by Pastor Chris Taylor of Deniliquin Baptist Church, on behalf of the Combined Churches of Deniliquin.