Rules or relationship? Law or Grace?

How you picture or envision God will answer the above question.

If 'your' God is a tyrant, an overlord, a dictator--an arbitrary leader--then you are stuck with law and rules.  This 'god' above all things is to be feared and trembled around.  Obey this 'god' or die.  Obey this 'god'--or he will get you!  He will hang you.  He will chase you around and make your existence miserable.

If 'your' God is a loving, caring, giving, serving, forgiving Father then you will be looking at relationship and grace.  Jesus puts it this way: (John 14:21-26 NLT) 

21* Those who obey my commandments are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them, and I will love them. And I will reveal myself to each one of them.”
 22* Judas (not Judas Iscariot, but the other disciple with that name) said to him, “Lord, why are you going to reveal yourself only to us and not to the world at large?”
 23* Jesus replied, “All those who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and live with them.
 24* Anyone who doesn’t love me will not do what I say. And remember, my words are not my own. This message is from the Father who sent me.
 25* ¶ I am telling you these things now while I am still with you.
 26* But when the Father sends the Counselor as my representative--and by the Counselor I mean the Holy Spirit--he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I myself have told you.

Notice this:

  1. Revelation comes or arises from obedience.  The more you obey the more revelation from God you will receive.  If you are stuck in your growth, never hear from God, --walk in obedience.  But how?  keep reading!
  2. Obedience is associated or connected with love.  Love is a relationship word.  You don't love tyrants---tyrants are those whom you fear.  However, a forgiving loving Father is one you would choose to obey--out of love. (... all those who love me will do what I say....)
  3. If we will teach love, intimacy, worship, adoration, repentance, ----obedience will be the natural flow out of that relationship with God.  (...Anyone who doesn’t love me will not do what I say. )  

Perhaps we have too often put the cart before the horse.  We preach law and rules--but need to preach relationship and grace.  The more I love Father the more I obey Him and choose to walk in His ways--honouring Him in every possible way!
However---it might actually work better like this:
The more you love God... the more you obey God...the more you hear God


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