It was one of our regular Home Group outings this week, where we go out and share a meal together. We often say that Christianity is not a religion, it’s a relationship. There is of course some truth in this, though our faith is certainly a religion (1 Timothy 5:4, James 1:27), it’s also more than a relationship; it is a number of relationships.
First and foremost, to be a Christian is to be in a relationship with God through Jesus but if that relationship is real, it must have an impact on all other relationships. We live in a culture focused on the individual, so it can be quite attractive to think about ‘just me and God’ but we have to understand a little of who God is and what is his purpose.
God has sought out a people for himself, a people that he loves so if I love God, I must love his people as well. Preachers who touch on this subject usually quote the familiar rhyme:
To dwell above with saints we love,
That will be grace and glory.
But to live below with saints we know;
Now, that’s another story!
Sadly, there is a great deal of truth in it. Nevertheless, as believers we are obligated to love one another; John spells things out very clearly in his first epistle:
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. (1 John 4:11-12)
I could go on of course but perhaps I’ll save it as an excuse for our next outing!