Many preachers like to say that biblical Christianity is not a religion but a relationship. I’ve always been one of those preachers. I do believe that is true and has always been true of God and man. God wants us to be open and honest with Him. He is always open and honest with us. Before Jesus speaks, He often says “truly, truly I say to you…” But we are not always open and honest with God. That’s strange to me because it’s truly impossible to hide anything from God. He is omniscient! That means He knows everything. But “omniscience” is not merely a theological doctrine; it’s a truth about God meant to bring about an open and loving relationship. When we say that God knows “everything” we must realize that it is a truth designed to draw us to Him, not drive us from Him in fear and guilt. We read that God knows the number of hairs on our head. That statement is presented to convince us of how close attention God pays to us. That’s a loving relationship.

The truth of God’s omniscience is something that lets us know that He knows all about our past. We have no skeletons in the closet with God. He loves us anyway. He knows all about our future! He knows how many times and in what ways we will fail Him tomorrow and He has chosen to love us in spite of it all. He knows all about our present. He knows that we all are failing Him in some way right now! Romans 5:8, says “while we are sinning” he demonstrates His love for us on the Cross. Everything about God and His revelation of Himself to us on Calvary in His Son shout “I love you with an everlasting love.” But unfortunately, most of us are satisfied with a connection with God founded in rituals, rites, ceremonies, and religious recitation of some formulas.

This is what Jeremiah indicted the people of Judah for. Religion was really not what God desired. It was an honest, open, and close relationship with His people. But the word of the day from the religious leaders was that we are safe in our rituals, rites, and ceremonies. “Don’t worry,” the Priests were telling the people, “we have the one true religion with its rituals and rites and we’re safe.” In Jeremiah 7:4, he tells them in so many words, “Don’t kid yourselves…” He writes, “Do not trust in these deceptive words: this is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD.” God is not out for rituals, rites, rules, and religious words. He wants a loving relationship with each of us. If we can’t see that in all our blessings in life, surely we can see it on the cross of Calvary. But we so often miss it and look to some religious observations or rituals to be our connection with God. That’s too bad.