The Necessity of Relationship

What is more important – working to keep God’s commandments, or developing a personal relationship with God?
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What is more important – working to keep God’s commandments, or developing a personal relationship with God?

Chris

Elders, I’d like to read a passage from the New Testament and get your opinion on its meaning.  Please read, Matthew 7:21-23

 

Elder Smith

Sure.  “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

 

Elder Young

We believe it is telling us that in order to enter into the kingdom of heaven, we must be doing the will of Heavenly Father.  In other words, we have to keep his commandments in order to be accepted into His kingdom.

 

Chris

But that’s not what this passage is saying.  It’s not emphasizing the doing.  It’s emphasizing the knowing.  Jesus “professed unto them, I never knew you.”  A person can do many works – wonderful works, but that is not what matters. 

To put it another way, please read what the Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 8:3.

 

Elder Young

“But if any man love God, the same is known of him.” 

 

Chris

In, essence what Jesus is saying in Matthew 7 is, “You never loved me.” 

There is another passage where the key phrase is “I know you not.”  Please read Luke 13:24-25

 

                                                                                Elder Smith

“Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.  When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:”

 

Chris

Again, Jesus is teaching is that it’s not what they did or didn’t do.  The key is a relationship.  He said to them “I know you not.”

 

Elder Smith

So, going back to 1 Corinthians 8:3, If we love God, then we are known by him. 

 

Chris

Exactly!  When we love someone, we are known by that person because we want to serve that person.  So, it is in our relationship with the Lord. 

Read 1 John 2:3-5

 

                                                                                Elder Young

“And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.  He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.  But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected:   

 

                                                                               Chris

Jesus said to his disciples in John 14:15 “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”


                                                                                    Elder Smith

Also 1 John 4:8 it says, “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”

 

                                                                               Chris

To know God is to love God.  And, that comes from developing a personal relationship with God.  Then, when we love God, we will want to serve God and keep His commandments.  That is how we are identified as true followers of, Christ.  We have a personal relationship with Him.  We know and love Him, as He knows and loves us. 

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