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Religion vs. Relationship

16 Nov
Religion vs. Relationship

We’re continuing our walk through the book of Romans.  In my last post we finished the section where Paul is talking to those without Christ.

He now shifts gears and begins talking to the Jews who have not yet received Christ as their Messiah.  In our generation, this part of Romans would deal with religious people who don’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ.

The apostle has some very strong words for the religious community.  He starts by describing who he’s talking to.

Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and brag about your relationship to God; if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law…

Romans 2:17-18

The first thing we see is a kind of dichotomy.  One mark of being religious is that you rest on the law – a set of rules for living – yet you brag about God.  Instead, the most important thing is to get to know God on a personal level.

But it’s the way a religious person follows the rules that’s the most telling.  The next phrase, approve of what is superior, implies that you’re only following what you consider to be the best rules.

That’s the problem with legalism.  Usually, when you make yourself a set of religious rules, you only include the ones you’re comfortable with.  You have your own approval system that tells you what rules you’ll accept or reject.

An ongoing relationship with Christ through His Holy Spirit, however, will bring about a change.  It will change your heart, your mind, and your actions.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Romans 12:2

This should be the goal of my life in God’s kingdom.  Instead, religion only deals with how well I’m following the set of rules I’ve established.

That’s why relationship always wins over religion.  It’s how we grow and mature.

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ…

Philippians 1:9-10

It’s through our relationship with Christ that we discern the best way to please Him.  Rules will only take you so far.

I want to know how to live right now, in this point in time.  There are things taking place that have never happened before in recent history.  Without the discerning of the Holy Spirit, I’ll be as confused as the rest of society without Christ.

We’re living in dangerous times.  Playing church isn’t going to bring us through it successfully.  We need a strong, intimate relationship with the only One who knows how to navigate the future.

It’s time to put religion aside and concentrate on strengthening your relationship with the Lord.

Question: What are you doing to bring your relationship with Christ to the next level?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2020 in Legalism, Prayer, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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