Thursday, March 06, 2008

People

RULES Vs RELATIONSHIPS

 

“He [Jesus] looked on them in anger because of their hardness

of heart.” (Mark 3:5)

 

When Jesus healed the man with the withered hand on the

Jewish Sabbath, the religious leaders began to plot how they might

kill him.

 

Jesus was angry with these Pharisees because they loved their

man-made rules more than they loved people. They had religion,

but they certainly didn’t have Christ -- or God!

 

What is even more absurd is that these same religious leaders

who murdered Jesus insisted that he be taken off the cross before

sundown (the beginning of their religious Sabbath day) on the day

they killed him because it wasn’t “lawful” for him to be hanging

dead on the cross on their Sabbath. To leave him there would have

broken one of their laws and they would have felt ceremoniously

unclean!

 

Imagine that! It was acceptable to kill Jesus but his dead body

had to be dealt with legally -- that is, according to their rules

and regulations! Unbelievable!

 

As strange as it may seem, religion may send more people to hell

than anything else! That is, religion that depends on man-made

or self-made rules or on one’s own good works. None of these will

ever get anyone to heaven. As the Bible says, “By grace are we

saved through faith -- and not of ourselves -- it is the gift of God.

Not of works lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

 

The fact is God is not into religion. And he’s not into rules

 He’s into relationships. Jesus died so that we could be reconciled

and reconnected to God and thereby have a right relationship

with him. He also wants to make us whole so we can have

right relationships with one another.

 

The heart of Jesus’ message was, “Do you want to be made whole?”

He died, not only to give to us the gift of eternal life, but so we

could be made whole, not only spiritually but relationally as well.

For only to the degree that we are made whole will our lifestyle,

attitudes, actions, behavior, and relationships become wholesome!

 

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, please deliver me from man-made

religious rules, and trust only in you and your Word, and help me

to grow in every area of life so that I will have a wholesome

relationship with you and with others. Gratefully in Jesus’ name.

Amen.”

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