Isn’t it obvious or shouldn’t it be obvious that a relationship with Christ is needed before someone can live their life saturated in Christ?
You would think so and for many of it is.
But I have met many others who sit in church on Sunday or who read the Bible and try to live by what it teaches who don’t understand that it is a relationship with Christ that makes you a follower of Christ and leads to salvation, not simply doing what the Bible says in order to earn our way to heaven.
And I have met many others who don’t believe that it matters what you do or how you live because if there is a god then he is a god of love and won’t condemn anyone to hell. (A common theory in my extended family)
We cannot save ourselves. Salvation isn’t something that can be earned, and salvation is about more than going to hell. Salvation is about becoming our best selves. Salvation is about a relationship with God.
In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man can come unto the Father but through me.”
Jesus said it himself. You can’t have a relationship with God without first having a relationship with Christ.
God is a god of love, yes, but God is also a god of holiness. He is set apart and cannot look upon sin. He created us. He loves us, and He wants His best for us. But He can’t give us His best when we continue to cling to the state we are in, the state of sinfulness.
So with the fall of man into sinfulness, He created a plan, a plan which led to the sacrifice of His Son. In His plan, Christ came to us, was born of a virgin, and grew into a man and died as one of us. He was fully human and fully God. He sacrificed Himself so that we could have a relationship with Him. He came to earth and walked as man so that we could know Him. He died to pay the atonement for our sins, and He was resurrected so that we could live eternally with Him.
But how do we, we who are so lost in our sin, have a relationship with Christ?
The first thing that we have to do is to recognize our need for Christ, recognize that we are sinners and that He died for us because He loves us and because He wants to spend eternity with us. Romans 3:23 tells us, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” All of us have sinned. Me, you, your children, your neighbor, your pastor, your boss, all of us. Christ is the only exception to that rule. He is the only one who has lived a pure and blameless life.
The next thing that we need to do is repent. First John 1:9 tells us that if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us of our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. Confess it. Confess your sin. Ask His forgiveness. Turn from your sin and allow Him to forgive you and purify you.
Sometimes I think that this is probably the hardest part for some of us when it comes to having a relationship with Christ. I used to date someone who has this problem. His focus has always been on what a terrible person he is and the horrible things that he had done in his past. He refuses to forgive himself and let go of the past and in doing so he struggles to receive God’s forgiveness. He is still trying to earn his way into heaven.
But it is through grace we are saved, not works. Grace through faith, and it is not of ourselves but through Christ and all we have to do is open our arms to Him and receive it. (My paraphrase of Ephesians 2:8-9) Receive it and enter into relationship with Him.
Now we come to the relationship. The relationship is the heart of the matter, the means by which we walk daily in His presence. You can’t have a relationship with someone you don’t spend time with. Time on Sunday mornings only doesn’t build a relationship. A relationship with Christ is built in the daily walk which is a walk of and in obedience. A relationship with Christ is built through learning about Him, His life, and through prayer, but mostly through obedience. As our relationship with Him grows it we are learn to hear His voice and see the beauty in what He did for us. It becomes more about Him who He is and serving others than ourselves and what He can do for us.
A relationship with Christ is truly the most important relationship you ever can have or ever will have. Do you have a relationship with Him?