Relationship, not religion
Christianity is not about what you do, but who you know
Ever told someone that being a Christian is all about having a “relationship with Jesus”? I have. And it is true…
But what on earth does it actually mean? And why do you need one?
I think it’s linked to the idea of faith!
You see at the heart of the Gospel is the good news that salvation is now available to all people through faith. But faith is not simply the belief in a few spiritual truths about God! It’s the complete reliance of a sinful human upon the person of Jesus Christ to save them from their sins!
At the heart of saving faith is a relationship of reliance upon Jesus! Not good works, not praying, not going to church, but faith in Jesus!
So why Jesus?
The Bible describes Jesus in many ways, but one of them is as a mediator. “There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ” (1 Tim. 2:5). And as our mediator, Christ speaks to his father in our defense (1 John 2:1). That means when you sin - whether you lie, cheat, steel or lust- Jesus actually speaks to his father and says something to the effect of, “Father forgive him, he’s with me”.
Think about it this way. Imagine you’re at school and you do something so bad that the principal is going to expel you. So you plead with him, and you promise to be good from now on, but nothing seems to work. You’re still going to get expelled.
But then a teacher that you have a relationship with comes along and mediates for you. She says, “Look principal, I want you to forgive little Johnny for what he’s done, he’s in my tutor group”. At that moment, all of your faith, all of your trust, all of your reliance is on the mediation of your teacher. Your future rests in her hands.
Unfortunately for you however, your principal ignores your teacher and expels you anyway.
Because He Died
Just like the teacher, Jesus is our mediator.
But unlike the teacher he doesn’t just ask God to forgive you because you’re on his team. He asks God to forgive you because he’s already paid for your sins. And unlike the Principal, God listens to Jesus because the penalty has already been paid!
Being a Christian is all about “having a relationship with Jesus” through faith, because without Jesus we’re dead in our sins. Jesus is the only one who can speak to God in our defense because Jesus is the only one who’s paid for our sins, and he can’t speak for those he doesn’t know!