Relationship: The Purpose of Our Being
Obedience without relationship invariably becomes Pharisaical legalism. Faith without relationship is a dangerous illusion. Conservative Anabaptists are inclined to embrace the first. Modern evangelicals, the latter. Both heresies are inspired by the enemy to thwart the very purpose of redemption. Both turn what is meant to be vibrant and alive into dead and powerless religion. I would like to focus the next blogs on the subject of knowing God.
Relationship is the essence of the Bible. Genesis begins with it. Revelations ends with it. Packed between the covers of the Book are the ageless dramas of how relationship works out in real life. Near the middle of the sacred Script are the poetic books recording the beautiful words of relationship finding its expression.
We divide the Book into dispensations. From its teachings we learn doctrines about God and man, about Heaven and Hell, about sin and salvation. In it we find precepts about how to live. We argue amongst one another about how to interpret it. Somehow, in the midst of it all we fail to grasp the purpose of our existence and the goal of redemption. Yet this eternal truth is so vividly portrayed in the same text.
Relationship is the life of the church. When it ceases, the church becomes a dead institution. Outwardly it may appear fine but its existence is only in traditions, rituals and forms. Its doctrine may be correct but it is only experienced in the realm of the intellect. Its worship may be aesthetically pleasing and its buildings ornate and beautiful. It may even be performing good works of charity to the community and the world. Yet its influence on both the society around it and on its own adherents is minimal. Most alarmingly, under its facade of piety is often hidden a legacy of moral corruption. Occasionally this hidden filth spills over to public view and brings foul reproach to the Name of Christ.
“Anabaptist Revival” is the name which I chose for my blog. True revival is the restoration of relationship between God and man. When it happens, broken relationships between people are also restored. When revival breaks out, the church, which has become the “valley of dry bones”, springs back to life.
The greatest opposition occurring when God restores His relationship with His people comes from those who are comfortable in their position and status in the institutions of men. The “norms” which they have known now are challenged and their “secure” world is shaken. The things which they see taking place are beyond their understanding because they are wrought by God. They only know Him in their minds and not in their hearts.
In the next blog(s) we will more closely examine what happens when this relationship is restored. We will observe its beauty in the lives of Biblical saints. We will see the devastation when it is destroyed.
Jan. 8, 2021