There are many ideas of what religion is. Some say religion is mans attempt to reach out to God and/or to find a way to live forever. The more holistic thoughts expand on the striving for meaning and purpose or perhaps a relationship with a spiritual or cosmic reality or force. Many are seeking nirvana to become one with the universe or cosmos to dissolve into an all encompassing oneness. The efforts to reach out to this other reality whether it be considered the cosmos or the divine or God include meditation and prayer, works of charity and selflessness, self denial, pilgrimages, duties, sacrifice, sacraments, rituals and other types of works.
In general there is much human effort worldwide to reach something beyond our understanding and physical reality. However there is one understanding and faith that stands apart from all others in the sense that reaching and striving is not the means to the end. Those within this community have been redeemed by the living God by no effort of their own but by God reaching out to them.
It is faith in Jesus Christ that brings this understanding, a revelation imparted to us by His Holy Spirit. The coming of Christ reveals that the source of true salvation rest in God the Father who reaches out to man. There is nothing we can do to earn His favor, which is His gift of love, mercy and grace.
Jesus said “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Christians understand that God reaches out to rescue His people through Jesus Christ. This relationship begins with faith that by offering Himself as a sacrifice, dying on a cross, Jesus has made those who believe right before God. The validation, stamp of approval, certificate of completion, the affirmation that this occurred is the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
Many are familiar with the story of Lazarus who was miraculously raised from the dead by Jesus Christ. Prior to the miracle Jesus explained to Martha the source of resurrection power.
Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give You whatever You ask of Him.” “Your brother will rise again,” Jesus told her. Martha replied, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day. ”Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in Me will live, even though he dies. And everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” “Yes, Lord,” she answered, “I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.” John 11:21-27
Though Lazarus was restored to life he did eventually die. The promise of a resurrected life in Christ sustained him as he encouraged others of the truth which Jesus spoke.
In a post from Dec of 2015 “If The Resurrection of Christ is True Then God Exist” objections to the resurrection of Jesus are examined. I encourage you to prayerfully search out the truth regarding the claims of Jesus. It is this reality that paves the way to a relationship with God the Father.
A relationship with God is available to those who receive His gift of salvation in Jesus Christ.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life“
God and man once walked and talked together. Genesis 3 tells how Adam and Eve once had an intimate relationship with God. This relationship was broken when rebellion entered their lives and they questioned God’s goodness and ignored His authority. This is a daily struggle for me and many other believers. There is no way to win this battle except by acknowledging the victory of Christ Jesus over sin and death. Instead of hopeless struggling to please and appease God there is rest in the finished work of Jesus Christ.
Jesus explained to his disciples Thomas and Philip that a life giving relationship is available to all who believe.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on, you know him, and have seen him.” Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you such a long time, and do you not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father. How do you say, ‘Show us the Father?’ Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I tell you, I speak not from myself; but the Father who lives in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me; or else believe me for the very works’ sake. Most certainly I tell you, he who believes in me, the works that I do, he will do also; and he will do greater works than these, because I am going to my Father. Whatever you will ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you will ask anything in my name, I will do it. John 14:6-14
Speaking of His work as a good shepherd Jesus said “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:9-10
Believers will know Him and hear His voice again “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me just as the Father knows me and I know the Father and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.“ John 10:14-18
Jesus brought us back to a right relationship with the Father. Upon His ascension into heaven Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would come to guide and comfort us through life, affirming this relationship with the Father in Jesus’s name. John 14:15-17
The Holy Spirit guides us to truth and empowers us to live productive lives overcoming temptation and speaking truth in love to those around us. John 16:13 He will gives us love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Gal 2:22-23 This is a promise of a more abundant life for those who believe and receive His gift.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” Romans 6:23.
This relationship begins and continues with belief and prayer.
The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. Psalm 145:18