“and He will answer and say to you, I do not know you, where you come from, then you will begin to say, “We ate and drank in Your presence and You taught in our streets.  But He will say “I tell you I do not know you…..depart from Me.”  Luke 13:25-27

It is one of the basic questions of life, both this terrestrial life and our eternal life, if salvation is from God’s Grace, what do I need to do?  It often sparks a debate over, do I work to earn salvation, or does salvation come to me as a gift?  The bible seems unequivocally clear, salvation is a gift of grace; lest I have a reason to boast.  If I indeed, can “do” enough to earn salvation, did Jesus need die for me?  I truly have no reason to boast, and yes, I can not approach the throne of God, except for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  Sooooo, I can just kick back, live how I want to live and count on that Grace being there whenever I need it.  Let the partying begin!  I can’t wait to eat and drink!  And look wow, there is a church on every corner!  What a saved place I live in!

Not so fast.  Jesus Christ is crystal clear.  He needs to know you and I.  Think about it; you can’t introduce someone you have never met.  Think about this the next time you go out to eat; do you know everyone, there in that restaurant who is eating in the same place?  And ask yourself this; you may go to a lecture or you may read an article by a learned person, but does that person know anything about you?  In the United States, there are some that say we have  an, or live in a Judeo/Christian tradition or culture.  So when it comes to my salvation, what does that culture mean?  Truly, extremely little.  In a practical sense, it may mean that I have easier access to Christian Churches and doctrines which can facilitate my personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and that is a good thing.  I do truly feel and pray for those who are in an environment where the mere mention of Jesus Christ can bring drastic penalty, even death.  And I do pray an acknowledgement of praise and thanksgiving, that I leave in a culture who, for the most part, embraces my right to follow Jesus Christ.  Yet Jesus Christ is very clear;  that I live in this culture, gives me no claim, in the least, to the salvation that comes from actually following Jesus Christ.

So what is required?  Again Jesus Christ answers, I need to know you; we need to have a relationship.  Yes, I believe that God, as creator, knows all of His creation.  Jesus Christ, knows that I exist.  That is not the knowledge that Christ is talking about.  While, I know that a person is standing on the corner as I drive by, I know nothing about them.  I would be hard pressed to actually introduce that person to anyone.  To know them I have to meet them, and they have to meet me.  As I approach them, if they turn and walk away, I still don’t know them.  So for Jesus to know us, we have to enter into a relationship with Him.  To claim salvation, we have to know that it, 1) exists, 2)by whom the salvation comes, and extremely important 3) that we need salvation.  Upon that revelation, a relationship develops.  As the relationship deepens, I feel the immeasurable love, mercy and blessings that come from that relationship.  The same way that, on earth, medicine can bring about healing and that often that healing leads to improved life and behavior, the relationship with Christ leads to an improved life and different behavior.  That relationship, allows Christ to know us and then, we are told, Christ longs to introduce us, in our redeemed state, to God Almighty.  And, through and because of our relationship with Jesus Christ, Our Heavenly Father will welcome us home.

Our Most Gracious and Heavenly Father, we long for a relationship.  We want to do more than just have some vague knowledge that You exist as we eat and drink.  We want to acknowledge more than the fact that You are preached somewhere around us.  We strive, Dear Father for a personal relationship with You.  We do faithfully acknowledge, that relationship comes through Our Savior Jesus Christ.  May it be, Almighty God, that we will enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ.  That through that relationship, we may humbly come to you.  And in that coming to you, we will live a life on this earth that praises your name and leads others to want that relationship, as well as having an eternal relationship with You.  In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen