Our Relationship with Jesus is a Call to Fellowship
We know that Jesus is both fully God and fully human, a perfect blend of two natures into one Individual who lived a completely sinless life on earth. This sinless quality allowed Him to offer Himself as a propitiation for our sin. He literally became our atonement on the cross so that we would not have to suffer God’s wrath. All that is required by each individual is to believe in His work on our behalf.
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved, (Romans 10:9-10).
A person who says aloud what is in their heart is evidencing the faith they have in Christ. That faith (or belief in His atonement) is what justifies us – changes our legal status before God from unrighteous to righteous). This is supernatural in nature. Our faith bridges the gap so to speak so that God is able to apply His righteousness to our lives, fully replacing our unrighteousness. Jesus has done all the work. We need only to believe.
I’ve talked about this before when I specifically dealt with the subject of fellowship with God in Christ. There is a very real component of our relationship with Christ that depends largely upon us and our willingness to work at things. We do not work for our salvation since that is something God freely gives and we receive that salvation through faith, as Paul points out in Romans 10:9-10.
The work aspect of our Christianity is in the fellowship we pursue with Christ (or don’t), once we receive salvation. As I’ve said before, in any and every relationship, work is involved. People who marry often make a commitment to remain together in sickness and health, good times or bad, and ultimately, until one of the individuals dies. However, one of the reasons there is such a high divorce rate in society is due to the fact that when things get tough, people forget or ignore their original commitments. They set them aside and literally stop working on that relationship. Once people give up on a relationship, it will go by the wayside. People can easily grow apart just as they can grow together.
I think it is important to understand that salvation doesn’t simply just give us eternal life. It does so because we have Jesus or are in relationship with Him. How we perceive and pursue that relationship is often up to us once we have salvation.
11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 The one who has the Son has this eternal life; the one who does not have the Son of God does not have this eternal life, (1 John 5:11-12).
I can waste a good deal of time feeling as though my wife doesn’t love me. I can even convince myself that this is the case based on faulty evidence or perceptions. I can start second-guessing everything she does and see in her actions and hear in her words, disapproval of me, whether it’s true or not (and in my case, it’s not).
All relationships suffer from these doubts and misjudgments from time to time and it is fairly easy for honest people to work through them. However, if I continue – in spite of all evidence to the contrary – to believe that my wife does not love me, I have chosen to believe lies. As such, I will act accordingly, all of it based on untruths.
I believe this same thing can and does affect the way we view our relationship with Jesus. It happens when we either undershoot or overshoot the understanding we have of our relationship in Jesus.
Either we take a somewhat lazy approach to our relationship with Jesus, expecting Him to do all the work, or we become so overly indulgent in the way we feel about our relationship with Him, that nothing is ever correct. We never enjoy fellowship with Him because we come to believe that it is too high for us to attain.
This happens in relationships, doesn’t it? It happens because we are tempted to think at the start of a great relationship that everything is going to be wonderful. It’s all going to be exciting. Nothing will ever go wrong. This is completely unrealistic though because all relationships after a time become work to a point. Once that “honeymoon” feeling is gone, any relationship can become humdrum. It takes work to continue to improve any and every relationship.
If it can and does happen in our human relationships, we need to understand and admit that it can happen in our relationship with Jesus as well. After all, it is still a relationship when all is said and done.
People who marry and commit themselves to that marriage will make it work, in spite of the highs, lows, and even the failures. You just keep pressing on because that is what was originally promised in front of witnesses and God Himself and it’s because that is the right thing to do.
The Bible is filled with warnings – one after the other – to continue to follow Jesus. I know that some people take these warnings to mean that salvation can be lost. As stated, I do not believe this is the case. I believe a failure to continue to follow Jesus will mean fear of judgment (but not God’s wrath) for the believer at the BEMA Seat of Christ (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:12).
This past Sunday, a missionary from Spain gave the message. In it, he highlighted the fact that Demas is mentioned in the Bible three times. In the last mention of him, Paul notes this sad fact, as recorded in 2 Timothy 4:10.
For Demas deserted me, since he loved the present age, and he went to Thessalonica. Crescens went to Galatia and Titus to Dalmatia.
“For Demas has deserted me…” is the final word on Demas that we know of from Holy Writ. This is tragic. Demas “loved the present age” or this world more than his commitment to Jesus. Things weren’t coming up roses. He saw what Paul was going through. He felt the tightening noose of persecution and he chafed at it, until he eventually walked away from active participation as a missionary/evangelist.
Like any relationship, being a Christian – being in relationship with Jesus – is hard work. It requires a commitment that many will find difficult. Like other relationships, many find it easier to simply stop working, to walk away, and to find a new way to live. The temptation to do this where Christ is concerned is just as real, just as palpable, and just as serious.
We need to take our commitment to Jesus seriously and personally. We need to understand that in this life, we will have trials and persecutions, but Jesus tells us not to fear, because He overcomes them all in and through us if we will allow it.
The only way I know how to make any relationship work is to stick to it, to continue to work at it, to acknowledge failures quickly, get back up, and start again. There is no easy way to maintain a relationship, although starting one can be exceedingly easy, but maintaining our relationship with Jesus is what we must do at all costs.
Entry filed under: christianity, eternity, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation. Tags: 1 corinthians 3:12, 1 john 5:11-12, 2 timothy 4:10, fellowship, fellowship with jesus, romans 10:9-10.