Man of God, Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye,
General Overseer of Redeemed Christian Church
of God (RCCG).

Rules vs. Relationships

"He [Jesus] looked around at them in anger and,
deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to
the man, 'Stretch out your hand.' He stretched it
out, and his hand was completely restored."1
God is not into rules. He's into relationships. For
example, when Jesus healed the man with the
withered hand on the Jewish Sabbath, the
religious leaders began to plot how they might kill
Him. Jesus was angry with these Pharisees
because, among other things, they loved their
rigid rules more than they loved people. They may
have had religion, but they certainly didn't have
Christ, Christianity, or God!
What is even more absurd is that these same
religious leaders who murdered Jesus insisted
that He be taken off the cross before sundown
(the beginning of their religious Sabbath day) on
the day they killed Him because it wasn't "lawful"
for Him to be hanging dead on the cross on their
Sabbath. To leave Him there would have broken
one of their laws and they would have felt
ceremoniously unclean! Imagine that!

As strange as it may seem to many, religion may
send more people to hell than anything else! That
is, religion that depends on one's own "good
works" or man-made laws, rules or traditions.

These will never get anyone to heaven. God's
Word, the Bible, makes it very clear that: "For by
grace you have been saved through faith, and
that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of
works, lest anyone should boast."2
Again, God isn't into religion or rules. He's into
relationships. Jesus died so that we could be
reconnected to God and have a right relationship
with Him. He also wants to make us whole so we
can have wholesome relationships with others
and live in harmony with God's laws—not to get
us into God's heaven, but so we can live
wholesome lives.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank You that You
gave Your Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for my
sins so that I could have a right relationship with
You, others and myself. Help me to live by Your
laws that give life and not be bound by man-
made religion, legalistic rules, or traditions that
are not based on Your Word, the Bible. Thank You
for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully,
in Jesus's name, amen."

1. Mark 3:5 (NIV).
2. Ephesians 2:8–9 (NKJV).