I have been known to be narrow-minded — and, believe it or not, some have even accused me of being “picky.” What? ME?
Guilty as charged, but in a nice way. This is not a deep theological dissertation but just an observation, begging for clarity and simplicity when we write or speak.
Frequently we hear believers in Christ say, “My relationship with Christ is not what it should be.” Or, “I am looking and trying for a better relationship with Christ.” Many organization’s Statements of Faith infer something like, “Obedience leads to a better relationship with Christ.”
These all sound nice, but could be more accurate and much clearer.
Dictionary.com says: “…the preferred usage of ‘relationship’ is for human relations or states of relatedness); “the relationship between mothers and their children”
The word “relationship” does not appear in the KJV Bible but is implied in this and many other verses:
John 1:12 “But as many as received Him (Jesus Christ), to them gave He power to become the sons of God, to them that believe on His name:”
Our relationship with Jesus Christ begins the moment we trust Christ as Savior. It is unchangeable and eternal, never to get better or worse. One who trusts Christ as Savior is a son of God forever. Never a lesser son, never more of a son. For a believer in Christ, relationship to God never changes.
However, a believer (son of God) who disobeys, rebels against or ignores his Savior Who bought him “with a price…” is still in perfect Father/son “relationship” with God. His fellowship with his Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ and other believers suffers greatly.
Ephesians. 5:11 “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. “
1 John 1:3 “…and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.”
In I Corinthians, chapter one, the Apostle Paul pleads for the believers not to have contentions or divisions which were ruining the fellowship within the Corinthian church. He stresses the difference between their standing (perfect, eternal relationship in Christ) and their fellowship (their abhorrent behavior). He emphasizes that their behavior should reflect their perfect standing in Christ.
Relationship — A believer’s standing is Eternal in Jesus Christ — and once settled by his faith in Christ, it will never change.
Fellowship — A believer’s state or condition, fluctuating day to day, moment by moment as we are obedient or disobedient to God’s Word.
Let us use language easy to be understood as we write and speak about our Savior. Is that “picky?”