Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Rules vs Relationships


(January 2002)


“And he [Jesus] looked around at them with anger, grieved at

their hardness of heart, and said to the man, ‘Stretch out

your hand.’ He stretched it out, and his hand was restored.”

(Mark 3:5, RSV)


God is not into rules. He’s into relationships. For example,

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, among other things, they loved their rigid rules

more than they loved people. They may have had religion, but

they certainly didn’t have Christ, Christianity, 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



As strange as it may seem to many, religion may send more

people to hell than anything else! That is, religion that

depends on one’s own “good works” or man-made laws, rules or

traditions. These will never get anyone to heaven. God’s

Word, the Bible, makes it very clear that: “For by grace you

have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves;

it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should

boast.” (Eph. 2:8–9, NKJV)



Again, God isn’t into religion or rules. He’s into

relationships. Jesus died so that we could be reconnected to

God and have a right relationship with him. He also wants to

make us whole so we can have right and healthy relationships

with one another and ourselves.


Suggested prayer: “Dear God, thank you that you gave your

Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for my sins so that I could

have a right relationship with you, others and myself. Help

me to live by your laws that give life and not be bound by

man-made religion, legalistic rules, or traditions that are

not based on your Word, the Bible. Gratefully, in Jesus’

name. Amen.”

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