It’s much more than religion

 
Receiving God’s gift of salvation makes you a brand-new person with a brand-new purpose. God wipes the slate clean and gives you a fresh start. This is God’s gift to you! But it’s more than a gift—it’s an invitation to a relationship
 

Everyone is invited to this extraordinary calling.

Receiving Jesus Christ as your Savior makes you become born-again! You are born into God’s kingdom and are made a partaker of His blessing. This is God’s gift to you! But it’s more than a gift—it’s an invitation to a relationship! It’s a call to fellowship and friendship with the Creator. Better still, you can come as you are, and God will receive you and transform you to be the best He has called you to be.Yet many people have been perplexed by this idea that a person can be “born-again” and have fellowship with God. Throughout history, this subject has confounded many. Even a highly respected religious scholar asked Jesus, “How can these things be?”
 

How can these things be?

In John chapter three, we encounter a man called Nicodemus, a highly respected religious scholar and teacher of the Jewish law. Nicodemus visited Jesus for what would turn out to be an eye-opening conversation. Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” This kind of talk left Nicodemus, the highly educated teacher, very puzzled. Nicodemus then asked, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus responded, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:3-5). Nicodemus pondered the meaning of Jesus’ words, then curiously asked, “How can these things be?”
 
Jesus’ statements came as a surprise to Nicodemus.What Nicodemus was familiar with was the practice of religion, but Jesus was suggesting something much more! Jesus was introducing a new standard—God’s perfect standard. He said to Nicodemus, “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again’” (John 3:7). God’s standard is, “you must be born again.” But how? By acknowledging Jesus as your Savior. This acknowledgment, however, is not a religious confession—it is a commitment to a relationship!
 

God is not looking for religion in us. He is looking for a relationship with us.

There is a big difference between the two! Religion focuses on your own effort and performance—relationship focuses on what God has already done for you. Religion ends up being a mechanical observance of rules and regulations. Relationship is heartfelt devotion to a Person. Religion is fear driven while relationship is faith driven. Religion can lead to legalism; relationship always leads to love. To truly know God, we must encounter Him relationally—not religiously. God wants a genuine relationship, where Jesus Christ is the focus. If we know Jesus relationally, our lives will be significantly changed. We will know the love of God in a greater way. We will worship God passionately—without any religious pressure.
 

The essence of Jesus’ message to Nicodemus (and to all of us) is best captured in a verse that has become probably the most well-known Bible verse.

John 3:16 says:For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
 
This is God’s gesture of love toward us. God has sent out an open invitation, calling all mankind back to a relationship with Him. Whosoever dares to respond to this invitation of salvation becomes a recipient of God’s best gift to mankind—the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ.
 
It’s time to encounter this life changing love relationship that God is inviting you to. Are you going to say yes to Jesus?
 
Be blessed.
 
You can find out more about my book “New Creature in Christ” at www.InspiredWordTeaching.org/books