Christianity is first and foremost about a relationship with Jesus Christ. It is not about religion. What Bible verses can help us to understand about having a godly relationship with God and with others?
Having a Right Relationship
Isaiah 59:2 “Your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.”
Christianity is not about religion or rituals but about having a right relationship with God. Sin has separated us from God (Isaiah 59:2). When Jesus took upon Himself our sins, even He had to be temporarily separated from God the Father (Psalm 22:1; Matt 27:46). That is what sin does. If you want to know how God feels about sin, just look at what Christ had to suffer at Calvary. God wants to save those who repent and trust in Him and He is quick to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9) and make us have the same righteousness as Christ (2 Cor 5:21). If you do this, then you will have a right relationship with God and can be saved (John 3:16-17).
Relationship with Parents
Ephesians 6:1-3 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”–which is the first commandment with a promise–”that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”
The Fifth Commandment, the first given that relates to humans relationship with humans, started with honoring our parents. If we honor our parents, even when we ourselves are adults, God promises that “it may go well” with us and we can “enjoy a long life on earth” because if we dishonor our parents, we are really dishonoring our God. All right relationships on this earth begin with honoring our parents and having a God-honoring relationship with them.
Relationships with the World
Second Corinthians 6:14 “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”
When Paul wrote that we are not to be joined together (yoked) with unbelievers, he was writing this for our own good. This means that our closest friends and relationships should be with believers and by extension, Christians are not to marry unbelievers because one is in opposition to the other’s set of beliefs. Often, against godly counsel, a believer will marry an unbeliever and they bring nothing but heartache to their marriage. How can we have “fellowship” with darkness if we are in the light? Water and oil do not mix any more than someone who seeks the kingdom first (Matt 6:33) can be joined together with someone of the world? I do not mean that we can’t have friends who are not saved but we must come out of the world and not be a part of it. It is absolutely true that “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm” (Prov 13:20).
First Corinthians 6:18 “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.”
Paul gives us good advice when it comes to sexual immorality. Run! Get away from this type of relationship as fast as your feet can carry you. All sin is evil but sinning against your own body is worse because this sin is against the body while other sins are “outside of [the] body.” Paul warns that “the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor 6:9) and if we are joined with another person in sexual fornication outside of marriage we are actually “joined to a harlot’s.body” (1 Cor 6:16b) and the two “become one flesh” (1 Cor 6:16c).
Ephesians 4:2-3 “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
The church must strive for unity and a “bond of peace” and this can only be done when we remain humble, patient and bear “with one another in love.” Paul knows this is not easy and why he writes that we must “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit.” Relationships take work. Everyone has different preferences so we must have love in accepting one another’s differences. God accepted us through Christ when we didn’t deserve it.
John 15:16 “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”
Jesus displayed the greatest love in all of human history by literally laying down His life for His friends.that is you and I if we are born again. Jesus died for us while we were still His enemies, still sinners, and hostile to the things of God (Rom 5). You may not have to lay down your life in the sense of dying for others but laying down your life is investing time, talents, and treasure in esteeming others better than yourself (Phil 2:3). Our life consists of only a short time on this earth and so when we lay down our lifetimes in serving others, we are laying down our time for others and we are no more like God than when we sacrifice what we want for what others need.
Your Relationship with God
Romans 12:1-2 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
The most important relationship of all is our relationship with God. We are commanded to make ourselves a living, bodily, holy sacrifice that is “acceptable to God” and is our “spiritual service of worship.” The word “spiritual” is not a good translation but a transliteration. That portion of Scripture should really read in presenting our “bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service of worship.” When Paul wrote not to be “conformed to this world” the Greek word for “conformed” (syschēmatizō) means “to conform one’s mind and character to another’s pattern,” in this case the pattern of the world. Instead we are to be “transformed” (Greek “metamorphoō”) meaning “to change into the form of another, to transfigure” and is the same word used on the Mount of Transfiguration which essentially means that a metamorphosis should take place. It is only if we do this that we can “prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” If we don’t then we really can’t prove what God’s will is and what His “good and acceptable and perfect” will is for our life.
God made us to have a right relationship with Him but when Adam and Eve sinned, they destroyed that relationship but God knew this would happen and so then, from before the earth existed, He planned on sending His only begotten and unique Son to die for us so that we might be restored to a right relationship with Him that our sins have severed. Christ paid the penalty that He didn’t owe because we owed a debt we could not pay. Repent and trust Christ today and you too, if you haven’t already, can have an eternal relationship with God that will be joy without end.
Another Reading on Patheos to Check Out: What Did Jesus Really Look Like: A Look at the Bible Facts
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Blind Chance or Intelligent Design available on Amazon