Relationship Over Rules

“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead”

Philippians 3:13

Have you ever really thought about what the apostle Paul was choosing to forget in order to reach forward to what lies ahead? What the apostle Paul was choosing to forget how he use to believe he was right with God based on keeping God’s law. Paul learned the hard way no one can come to the Father except by Jesus. If there ever lived a man who was close to perfect it was the apostle Paul but what he discovered when he encountered Jesus was that only Jesus was perfect and he (the apostle Paul) had himself sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and was in need of a Savior.

What Paul came to know is what God wants you and me to understand too. No one will ever make it to haven by keeping the rules no matter how hard you try. Paul made his point clear in Galatians 2:21 when he wrote, “I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.” It’s a slap in God’s face to believe that a person must somehow be saved by their own good works. In truth it’s actually the very opposite. The only hope we have of being saved is Jesus taking our place, the sinless for the sinner.

There is an old saying that goes like this, “With regards to heaven it’s not what you know it’s who you know.” The only people who will be in heaven one day are those that have entered into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Quoting the apostle Paul again from the book of Galatian’s, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” When Jesus opened Paul’s eyes to the truth of the Gospel what the apostle Paul learned was heaven is a free gift to those who receive it. Salvation is based on a relationship and not some set of rules. Simply put, heaven is heaven because Jesus Christ will be there and Hell will be Hell because Jesus Christ won’t be there.

Do you have a desire to draw closer to God in 2021? Quit trying to impress God by trying to be good and instead just focus your life on drawing close to Him knowing when you do, good company guards against the development of bad habits. A relationship with Jesus changes everything because if you are following Jesus you don’t need to worry about messing up as God doesn’t tempt anyone. Jesus said it best in John 5:19-20, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.” Forget the rules and instead just focus on your friendship with God and loving Him with all your heart, mind, soul and strength knowing in the end relationship over rules wins! 

“And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me”

John 17:22–24


Michael Osthimer





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