Religious Trap #4 – Rules not Relationships

Romans 2:24 – For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”,f,

In our day of social media and technology, it is infinitely easier to make a point than to make a difference. Making a point takes a few words. Making a difference takes a lot of work. Like the old adage goes, when all is said and done, a lot more is said than done.

There is nothing wrong with winning an argument, but our goal as Christians must be to win people. For this to happen, we need to focus on building a relationship with people before we throw a bunch of rules at people. When the Bible says that the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ is glorious, this means that it is heavy, or weighty. Think of the delivering of the heavy truths of God’s Word as a truck weighed down seeking to transport a load from one side of a river to the other. What is needed is the long hard work of building a bridge that is strong enough to carry the weighty load.

To connect people to God who are separated by the river of sin, a relationship is the bridge we build to deliver God’s truth to them. Practically, this means that it is best whenever possible to connect with people before you correct people.

The problem with religious people is they just stand on the other side of the river and throw rules at you before they build a relationship with you. Unsure if they care about you, or have your best interest at heart, this causes lost people to hate God because they assume the mean people judging them speak for Him.

The truth is that the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ is heavy, and offensive. It says that we are the problem, and not the solution because we are bad, and Jesus alone is good. The goal of building the relationship is to make every effort to let the message be offensive without the messenger being offended.

If honest, every Christian has failed at this to varying degrees in various relationships. Usually, the best thing is to just own it, apologize, tell the person we sinned against that we are both sinners and both need Jesus so that we are standing with them and inviting Jesus into our midst to work through the relationship to help us both. I always tell parents that rules without relationship results in rebellion. The same is true for adults as well as kids.

Are you better at making a point or making a relationship? 

To find the free Romans study guide for individuals and small groups, hear Pastor Mark’s entire sermon series on Romans, or find a free mountain of Bible teaching visit or download the realfaith app. 

Leave a Comment