The Context of A Relation Ship

Although I spoke of different kinds of relationships in Relation Ships, my last post, we are specifically looking here at the relation Ship that God has created for His people. Years ago the concept of a ship was relevant to my seeing what happens in relationships;  in such “ships” as fellowships, memberships, partnerships, etc.

A relationship then is pictured as a vehicle or means of housing and carrying two or more people, those with the same interests, the same purpose, the same mind, heart, and goal. We enter in relationships with one or more who are going in the same direction with the same destination and the same plans that will get us there.

This idea is especially true in our relationship with God. Before we begin to look at the context of this relationship we first need to understand who built this ship, the One who planned the voyage. We need to understand clearly who owns, commands and navigates this ship in which we are passengers. We can claim no rights to the berth within the small room that we are given. We may say that we have a relationship with God, but only as we humbly agree that it is by His initiation, His calling, His bringing us aboard this ship with Him and others that He has invited.

It is this invitation with which the context begins. We often receive calls from solicitors promising us a free cruise. Knowing that this is only a means of selling something else we say “No, thank you.” There are those who hear about God’s invitation to this voyage, who say I don’t believe it, and so, never experience this relationship. Then, there are those who have read about it and heard about it and want to enter this relationship with God, but soon realize it is not what they thought it would be. These do not understand, or agree with the full context of the relationship that God has offered. They hear the invitation and read their own ideas into what it means, and so miss the whole context and the relationship.

The invitation is included in the manual that is furnished for the voyage. The manual, God’s Word, the Holy Bible, reveals the context of God’s relationship with His people. Because we cannot read the whole manual before entering the “ship” (it is meant to instruct us as we journey together) we must enter by faith, accepting the whole context even though we do not understand all of it. Because this is God’s relationship, and a covenant He has initiated with us we cannot “jump ship.” Nor can we at anytime throw overboard any pages of the  manual. We may as well throw ourselves overboard. Taking anything out of context to suit our own purposes excludes the whole matter of God’s plans and purposes of the relationship.

The Purpose of the Relationship
Why the ship? What relation does God have with us? What is His purpose? We were created in His image for Him to share Himself, and His kingdom. He, in the riches of His glory, intended to bring this to pass by His own means and timing.

Knowing that the first relationship with Adam would be sabotaged He and His Son, Jesus Christ, planned a better and greater “ship” for those who would believe His Word. By His own power, the power of His Spirit, Jesus came to earth, born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, and offered Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of His people. He died and rose victoriously for those who would be brought into this relationship.

Jesus is the captain of this “ship” and the King of heaven, the destination to which this relationship will bring us. It is by the power of the Holy Spirit that He convicts us that we are like Adam, with his nature and disobedience to God. He opens our eyes to see our need; to see where we are in a world that does not believe in God, and convinces us that the whole context of His Word is true. With this quickening we see what He has promised as He leads us to and in this relationship with Him.

With Jesus as Captain, and the Holy Spirit revealing the truths of God’s Word we continue in this relationship until He brings us safely home with Him. The whole context of the relationship is applied to whatever storms or temptations we encounter. Rather than taking anything out of context we read and study and experience the whole of God’s relationship with us.0001Pl Dear Father, we need your Spirit today to keep us in context with all that you have planned for us.  Let Christ dwell in our hearts richly, keeping us on course for our destination.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.


Relation Ships

There are three words within the word “relationship” representing three different facets of a relationship.    imagesWe see the word “ship” as the most prominent word. Within the ship are people who relate to each other; and between these there is relation.

There are friendships, fellowships, memberships, partnerships, leaderships; and also relationships of marriage and family; parents with children, etc. In the spiritual realm there is a lordship and worship.

A ship is a means of transportation, a vessel that holds and carries one or more persons from place to place. A ship represents a unity of heart and spirit.   Two people in a ship usually have something in common. In a long lasting relationship the two are of the same mind, with the same desires, the same purpose and the same plans. Their destinations are the same.

Our neighbors have recently booked a passage on a ship for a fall cruise. They will not own the ship but will pay to enter the ship that will take them on a week’s voyage wherever the ship has planned to go. Relationships are not always cruises to beautiful and pleasant shores. But, we pay for these in our commitments to those with whom we are in a relationship. Marriage and family require a covenant vow of our money and time, and all our resources.

 Abandoned Ships
There are relationships that have been abandoned because one has changed his/her mind, plans or destination. One may have entered a different relationship. They are now relating to someone else with whom they have more in common.

Sometimes ships need to be abandoned, when plans and destinations have changed.
An example is when one has become a Christian and is following Christ and the other is not.  If the unbeliever is not interested in the direction that Christ takes us the believer cannot safely continue in the relationship. There cannot be two captains of one ship. The two may still have similar interests, but the lordship changes for one,  charting a different course than the unbeliever.   These relationships usually end on the rocks, sometimes after years of struggle in trying to keep the relationship afloat. Or believers are influenced by the unbelievers to abandon their faith.

Evaluation and Repairs
Marriages may begin to sink because other ships seem more attractive, or one simply loses interest in the one that they are in. Relationships of marriage and family need to be brought into the harbor, for evaluation, repairs and renovations. Others need to accept that the ship is going in a different direction than was planned, seeing the need for change of heart and mind.

While marriages are joint relationships, a partnership so to speak, God’s plans for this relationship requires the husband and father to be in a relationship with Him, so that he may know how to captain the relationship with his wife and family. He must first know the lordship of Christ and submit to this relationship.  Wives in relationship with God are given the plans and the means of submission to His plans under the leadership of the husband.

God’s Word, the manual for repairs of the ship needs to be sought, and obeyed. Both husband and wife need to enter into the relationship of prayer with the heavenly Father to seek His plans, means and power for renewal.

A Lifetime Relationship
In the case of lordship and worship, we have to repent and in faith submit to God’s will if we are to enter into a relationship with Him. He is the captain of all our ships, whatever relationship this may be. This one relationship determines all others for us. A circle of relationships will have the Lord, Jesus Christ at the helm. We can depend on Him to bring us through all the rough waters safely and victoriously to that glorious worship that He has planned for us.

(In Part 2 we will look at the context of a relationship.)

Dear gracious Father, who has booked a life voyage for us that will extend to eternity, please show us your plans. By your Holy Spirit work in our hearts and bring us willingly to embark upon this voyage with you and the family that you have provided for us. Reveal to us the greatest relationship that we will ever enter and experience ~ the relationship that is ours in your dear Son, Jesus Christ, that will bring us together to the shores of Paradise with you. In His name I pray and praise you.  Amen.


The Holiness of God by R. C. Sproul (Video Series)


In 1986 this video series was filmed by a younger Sproul.  It is a classic in any Christian’s study of the character of God.  Whatever church you belong to you will be blessed to view these 30 minutes lectures. Go here to view all six.

Below is 5 minute clip from the first lecture, Holy, Holy, Holy.

The Best of God’s Grace

It has been said that a common grace is extended to all of God’s creatures ~ “In Him we live, and breathe, and have our being.” (Acts 17:28) This is seen in that He allows us to accomplish all that we can do in this life apart from Him. Even in the daily rebellion and unbelief He holds back His omnipotent hand from a total destruction of all that defies His authority. The best of God’s grace is hidden from the world in the treasury of His written Word, the Bible. It is discovered in the life and work of His Son, His living Word as He reveals Him through the written Word. He draws us to His Word, written and living, by His Holy Spirit. It is the Amazing Grace that John Newton wrote about ~ “that saved a wretch like me.” How many times did I sing this hymn before I knew what it meant?

“I once was lost, but now am found; was blind, but now I see.”

 By this revelation of His grace for our justification God produces the new heart and spirit that brings us to repentance and faith in Christ. This grace adopts us into His family. It is continually poured out for our sanctification, so that we, in a new state of being, love Him and desire to daily obey and please Him. A growing grace within us, like an ever-flowing stream, carries us through this life and death into His eternal glory. It is an abundant grace, an abiding grace, a sufficient grace, a marvelous grace that all who receive it can testify. 00015IDear Father, pour out your grace upon us.  Make us to know your presence and power carrying us through this day in obedience, honor, and glory to you.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen

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