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At the Core of Biblical Christianity

Relationship with God stands at the core of biblical Christianity

“This is what the LORD says: ‘Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight.’” (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

This is an amazing truth—that the God who created the universe and everything in it—created you and me for relationship with him. Let the magnitude of that truth sink in! God went to great extremes in order to restore our relationship with him even when we were still in rebellion against him. “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” (Ephesians 1:5 NLT)

Relationship with God through Jesus Christ stands at the core of biblical Christianity. John 3:16 oozes relationship, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” And Jesus defined eternal life as relationship with him and with the Father (John 17:3).

Listen to the passion with which our heavenly Father cries out to wayward Israel, “I thought to myself, ‘I would love to treat you as my own children!’ I wanted nothing more than to give you this beautiful land—the finest possession in the world. I looked forward to your calling me ‘Father,’ and I wanted you never to turn from me.” (Jeremiah 3:19 NLT) But don’t think for a minute these passionate words only apply to Israel!

In 2 Corinthians 6:16 and 18, Paul applies these God-promises to us, “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” God created us for relationship with him!

Our need to be reconciled with God

How was our relationship with God broken? What caused this rift between us and God? Where did we go wrong? Sin, which is essentially rebellion against God, became our way of life after our ancestors Adam and Eve defied God’s leadership and revolted. Their estrangement from God was immediate. They felt shame and they knew their relationship with him had been broken, so they tried to hide from him.

Adam and Eve’s kids inherited the same propensity to rebel against God. And there was no evolution or progressive development of sin as we might think. Sin was immediately full-blown and their firstborn murdered his younger brother in a fit of jealousy. A few chapters later we read, “The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.” (Genesis 6:5)

You and I are sinners, both by heredity and by practice. We are guilty on both accounts. Our sin has separated us, estranged us from God. “The entire world is guilty before God.” (Romans 3:19 NLT)
“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood.” (Romans 3:23-25 NLT)

God loved us so much that he sent his Son, Jesus, to die in our place for our sins. Jesus, who was holy and without sin, took the full penalty of our sins upon himself. There was nothing we could do, no payment great enough to pay our debt owed to God. But what we could not do, Jesus Christ did for us, dying in our place. Jesus opened up the way to God for us.

Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf was so effective and so all-encompassing, that he not only bought us forgiveness, but he declared us righteous before God and restored our friendship with God (Romans 5:10). What God requires of us is to receive his gracious gift by trusting in Christ. “For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:5 NLT)

© Rob Fischer 2008