The Foundation of All Relationships
1Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. 6For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us .9Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
1Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; 2And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savor. 3But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; 4Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. 5For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 7Be not ye therefore partakers with them.
19For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell; 20And, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. 21And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled 22In the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreprovable in His sight: 23If ye continue on the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;
In this quarter we will be studying about positive relationships. These include a person’s relationship with God, one’s relationship within the family and an individual’s relationships with those outside the home.
Developing relationships is not always easy, but Scripture does give necessary insight for the task. The first five lessons of this quarter will look at some of the most important of the passages: Romans 5:1-10, Ephesians 5:1-7 and Colossians 1:19-23, above.
The most sought-after thing in the world is inner peace. While some would suggest money, power, fame or success as alternatives, they are really attempts to find peace with oneself or with others. God has offered mankind a way to live in harmony with him, a harmonious relationship that brings true peace.
The difference grace makes must be apparent in character and conduct in the believer, otherwise he needs to go back to Calvary. Sin has spoiled the divine-human relationship for every person. The sin problem must be dealt with before we can live in harmony with God.
Since God loves us and created us to live in harmony with Him, He has also provided the solution to the sin problem. To satisfy God’s righteous judgment against us for our sins, the sinless one, Jesus Christ, laid down his life for each of us. Because He was the only sinless human who ever lived, He was the only One who could die for the sins of everyone.
The first lesson of this quarter looks at the believer’s relationship with God, which is the foundation of all relationships. From this relationship the believer derives righteousness, strength for the task of living, and principles that are applicable to other relationships. There are different ways to describe one’s relationship with God. A person can be far from God and in sinful estrangement from Him, rebelliously transgressing against God and his statutes.
But a person can also be a follower of God, his relationship marked by peace and harmony. Three primary aspects of that harmony will be discussed in this lesson. 1) Standing in a relationship of peace before God 2) Walking consistently as a follower of God, 3) and Being reconciled with God through the work of Christ.
First one – positive relationships with others are built on the foundation of a proper relationship with God. This relationship has been described in many ways throughout Scripture. Peace is a vital part of the gospel. This peace is essential in the Kingdom of God – Romans 14: 17 reads For the Kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost and it is part of Paul’s admonishment to the believer. Romans 14:19 states Let us therefore follow after these things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
Finally, it is the God of peace who will defeat Satan – Romans 16:20, And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
This peace is rooted in a personal relationship with God. This is not peace “alone” but peace WITH God, and that has been made possible by the blood of Christ.
No one could have made this provision for us except Christ, for we are sinners saved by grace. Peace with God is a wonderful privilege of the saints, the redeemed. The wrath of God no longer is the individual’s destiny, the individual who has chosen Christ as Savior.
In Ephesians verse 2, above, Paul calls the Christian’s manner of life a walk of love. In verses 3 and 4 the believer’s relationship with God is marked by specific commitments. Paul emphasizes the impact of relationship with others upon one’s relationship with God. In verses three and four, he addressed how the believer’s relationship with God should affect his relationship with others.
We are influenced by others. No one is able to live entirely alone and in the process of relating to others, we are affected by those with whom we associate. They helped and help to shape our lives, and sometimes we become a reflection of each other; therefore, we must use caution in the selection of our close associates.
Genuine godliness of life will always be the external evidence of our inward harmony with God. To be at peace with God within cannot help but have a measurable and beneficial influence on all our external activities and relationships. The four specific sins mentioned in Ephesians, verse five, were prevalent throughout the world of the New Testament times and they are still prevalent today.
The first two: hormone aging, patronizing prostitutes and uncleanness, thus moral impurity, are representative of all the many forms of sexual immorality. The last two, covetousness and idolatry, go hand-in-hand so much that covetousness is called idolatry in Colossians 3:5: Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence and covetousness, which is idolatry.
We must never be deceived into thinking that it does not matter to God whether or not we seek to live a holy life as defined by holy Scripture. We must pursue holy living to be in harmony with God and inherit the Kingdom of God. It is possible, otherwise God would not have commanded us to abstain from sin.
The Scripture commands that Christian are to continue in the faith. It is such a simple command, yet it can be such a challenge at times to just continue. Whatever it requires of us, let us continue in the faith and keep the hope of the gospel. A disobedient lifestyle can so powerfully corrupt the believer.
Be reminded by Paul in Colossians 1:23-29
23If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul, am made a minister; 24Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for His body’s sake, which is the church: 25Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God; 26Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints: 27To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: 28Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: 29Whereunto I also labor, striving according to His working, which worketh in me mightily.
It is a permanent relationship so long as the believer remains faithful. The Christian can walk away from fellowship with God if he chooses. We have a choice. Paul tells us to be grounded, meaning to have a properly laid foundation, and settled, referring to the firmness of a structure. They were to remain stabilized. This foundation, such as Christ has laid, cannot be shaken.
Be reminded of the lyrics of a song: “Saved, saved, my sins are all pardoned; my guilt is gone! Saved, saved, I am saved by the blood of the crucified One!” (Writer unknown) The more we abound in the spiritual virtues, the more established we are, and consequently, our effectiveness as witnesses and servants of Christ improves.
No physician ever “weighed” out medicine to his patients with half so much care and exactness as God “weighs” out to us every trial. Not one grain too much does he ever permit to be put on the scale.
Knowing that each man’s life may terminate at any time, should be an incentive to men to make their peace with God. The tragedy is that while peace with God has already been made possible, many have still not accepted it. The believer can become a vital link in bringing the unsaved into such a relationship. Sometimes, just a word of encouragement or a display of interest can be the key to bringing someone to Christ.
The believer must become aware of the need of the unbeliever. He must also see himself as an instrument that God can use to bring peace into someone’s life. Many times a believer can become wrapped up in his own relationship with the Lord and become insensitive to the needs of others. The unbeliever’s lost condition goes unnoticed.
The song, Rescue the Perishing written by Fanny J. Crosby was written while riding between Brooklyn and the Bowery in a hired horse-drawn hack or buggy. She had just attended a service in the Bowery Mission where she had been asked to speak to an audience made up of New York’s lowest derelicts. While driving, traveling home, the blind poetess’ mind could not help but dwell upon the experience through which she had just passed. Before she reached her home, the poem was completed and a new hymn was born: “Rescue the Perishing”.
“Rescue the perishing.
Care for the dying.
Snatch them in pity
From sin and the grave.
Weep o’er the erring one.
Lift up the fallen.
Tell them of Jesus,
The Mighty to save.”