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Ritual or Relationship?

February 25th, 2007

“Those whose god is religion will not have God in their religion”

– Erskine

“…having a form of godliness, but denying its power”

(2 Timothy 3:5, NKJV)

The English Standard Version translates 2 Timothy 3:5—“…having the appearance of godliness.” Things are not always as they appear. Paul condemns this kind of Christianity. It seems that some are quite religious in the sense of having the ritual down pat, but, in actuality, there is something very wrong. The relationship aspect is missing.

Today, it is of vital necessity that we worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:23,24). Going to assembly should be a habit of the heart (Hebrews 10:23-25). Hearing the gospel preached; praying to the Father; eating the Lord’s Supper—these are all examples of having vital communion with God. While they do contain ritual, in the sense that they are repeatable, they also afford precious moments of relationship with the Lord. Form of worship is important (2 Tim. 1:13; Rom. 6:17; etc), but, so is function. Hebrews 8:10 reads: “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

One’s heart should not be made of stone (see Ezek. 11:19). Religious format and religious relationship are both valid Scripturally. May your religious habits (ritual) always be conjoined in heart (relationship).

– Robert M. Housby