In America, our relationship with God is ours to choose

Published 5:30 am Sunday, June 25, 2023

On the back of our currency it reads, “In God We Trust.”
America was founded on the freedom of religion — the freedom to worship God any way we choose without the fear of being persecuted for it.
Over 200 years ago, our founding fathers shook off the chains of tyranny from Great Britain and sailed to a land of promise and freedom.
Later, citing 27 biblical violations, they wrote the Declaration of Independence.
Of the 55 men who formed the Constitution of the United States, 52 of them were active members of their church.
Former president James Madison said, “We’ve staked our future on our ability to follow the Ten Commandments with all our heart.”
Those words are echoing down the corridors of our government buildings in which it is now illegal to post the Ten Commandments.
Even though our founding fathers envisioned a country based on biblical values, America has become a smorgasbord for other religions as well.
In fact, the United States now has the greatest number of religious groups than any other country in the world.
America has become a very “religious” nation. But religion can also bring its own type of bondage with man-made rules.
That’s why the number of people who do not affiliate with any religion has grown over the last few years.
So it’s important to realize there is an enormous difference between being “religious” and being saved from sin.
One of the major things that separates Christianity from all other religions of the world is that it is NOT about religion… it’s about a relationship.
You and I have the privilege of having a relationship with God personally and having our sins forgiven.
Hebrews 4:14-16 explains it this way, “Since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses; but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are, yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy, and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (NIV)
Christians have complete, unobstructed access to God Himself through Jesus.
And because of this, you can have an intimate relationship with the very One who created you in His image.
I’m not talking about religion… I’m talking about a relationship that transcends all of our problems and trials.
Jesus laid aside His robe of Light in Heaven, came down to Earth, wrapped Himself in human flesh, and was tempted in all areas as we are, yet He did not sin.
He has promised that He will never leave nor forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5)
He knows what it’s like to feel pain, loneliness, and despair. That’s why He promised that you will never have to endure it alone.
Isaiah 53:5 tells us Jesus bore the stripes upon His back, so you could be healed of sickness and disease… He was chastised for your peace of mind… He was bruised for your iniquity and sin.
That’s how much He loves you!
Years ago, there was a shop girl in Chicago.
One day, she couldn’t buy one dollar’s worth of anything; the next day she could buy a thousand dollars worth of anything she wanted.
What made the difference? She married a rich husband!
She accepted him and, of course, all he had became hers.
And so it is when we accept Jesus Christ — all He has becomes ours!
So which will it be, religion or relationship?
The choice is yours.

Rev. Doug Johnson is the senior pastor at Raven Assembly of God in Raven, Virginia.

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