Summary: God doesn't want a one-time experience with you. He wants a relationship.
“Relationship with God”
August 28, 2016
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
Romans 5:8 “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Ephesians 2:4-5 “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ”
1 John 4:9-11 “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
The other day I was watching a TV preacher who is very popular going off on what I believe. He was saying if you believe you can backslide you are a false prophet. I have said a time or two that it is a false prophet who teaches that once you are saved you are always saved. The fact of the matter is that theologians have been debating that very thing for hundreds of years.
I was talking to God about this dispute. I want to believe and teach the truth. I told God it puzzled me why He allows such a disagreement among His children. Both sides ‘claim’ to love God and I truly believe they do. So what is the truth? What is right? WHY do you allow this disagreement, God?”
I believe, God the Holy Spirit said to me, “Andy, each person will be judged by what he believes. It is the intent of the heart I am concerned with. Besides, it is not your affair what I do and how I work in other people’s lives – or even what they believe. You just do what you know is my will for you.”
You see, I think we get it all wrong when we argue theology. No one has it completely correct. We are all intellectually imperfect. We all lack context and experience. Therefore our judgments and beliefs are imperfect. WE are imperfect. Even if we try as hard as we can – we will be imperfect in our actions and thoughts. And I think that is okay with God. He doesn’t ask us to be perfect of action. Even with the best of intentions we will say and do the wrong thing at times.
He knows we can’t be perfect intellectually. We are so limited in our intellectual ability. Our problem is that we have put a little box around what we experience with God or what we think we experienced or what God’s will is. Our likes and dislikes and prejudices and flaws play a part in what we formulate as our beliefs. Since no one is exactly alike – we all come to a different conclusion – and it divides us if we let it.
I have come to the conclusion (and I believe God has revealed this to me) is that God is not interested in a one-time experience with us. He desires a ‘relationship’ with us. All this stuff of when we are saved or can we lose our salvation or once we experience this thing we call ‘getting saved’ we can never lose it – is totally the wrong emphasis. The emphasis should not be when we were saved, sanctified, filled with the Spirit or any other experience. It should be on our relationship with Jesus. It is true that we will experience many of those experiences when we are in relationship with the Lord. But the focus needs to be on relationship – right now. Not on what it was yesterday or whenever it happened in the past. The question is “what is your relationship with Jesus at this moment?”
God loves us so much that He describes our relationship with Him as one between a groom and a bride. He says He is the Groom and we are His Bride. Think about that a minute. That relationship between a bride and groom is so sweet. They aren’t aware of any flaws in each other yet. They have few negative experiences with each other. When that groom looks down the aisle at his bride his heart thrills. She looks at her groom as a knight in shining armor and adores him. After the honeymoon the relationship goes downhill for awhile – but if they hang in there and make the right choices it will get better. In fact, the relationship will just get better and better.