Relationship Without Religion?
by Nathan Battey
I would like to know which Bible passage teaches that you can have a relationship without religion? If we can have a relationship without rules then it would not matter if a person believes in Christ or not. Yet Jesus stated in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
If we can have a relationship without religion, then Jesus was wrong when he stated, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Matthew 7:13-14. If we don’t have to follow any rules, then there can’t be a distinction in paths that lead to Christ.
People are confusing the issue: religion and relationship are not mutually exclusive terms. In fact, it is impossible to have one without the other. What people fail to realize is that we must practice pure religion if we want to have a pure relationship. If we practice false religion we will have a false relationship. “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” James 1:27. James speaks of pure religion as being approved and required by God.
How does one come into a relationship with God? Only through Christ – John 14:6.
Why is it important that people seek a relationship through Christ? “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,” – Ephesians 1:7.
How does one get into Christ? You can search the Scriptures over, but there is only one way according Paul:
“For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” Galatians 3:27.
“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” – Romans 6:3-4.
Thus, there are rules for coming into a relationship with Christ. There are also rule for maintaining that relationship:
And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” -Luke 6:46
If ye love me, keep my commandments” -John 14:12
And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. 1 John 2:3-6
The bottom line is this: You cannot have a relationship with Christ without rules to follow. Following Christ is what it means to be a disciple. Listen to the instructions of Christ as He sent His disciples into all the world to make other disciples:
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:18-20
I leave you with this passage:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” - Matthew 7:21