Promises and Secrets

Promises and SecretsPromises and Secrets

A website for those not afraid to examine their beliefs, compare them to the real world, and make sure they fit.

Levi Response


Response to Levi


Responses to our Relationship page


First off, thanks for your response. I can see it is more of a well-thought-out statement of faith than just the response to a question. Well done.


I appreciate your agreement with the statements made on the Relationship page, but I would like to clarify what you meant by the Holy Spirit being a byproduct to salvation in your fourth paragraph. I understand you to say that we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit as a good part of the salvation package. If so, I agree completely. Unfortunately, a "byproduct" is not necessarily a good thing, as in carbon monoxide is a "byproduct" of the combustion engine.

However, a byproduct can be a good thing, but can still be misused - as in the way some Christians misuse the "freedom" we have in Christ (a good thing) as an excuse to disobey God (as in breaking His commandments supposedly without penalty). A case in point is as you mentioned in those times when we "grieve" the Holy Spirit.


As for your comment just above the "Why?" question in the middle of your response, Paul instructed in Colossians 4:1 and Ephesians 6:9 how to treat slaves and why. A slave is not just an underling to do bidding, but a human being to be treated with respect if he is obedient to the master. If he is not obedient, then he is treated accordingly. I believe that many forget that God is a just God as well as a forgiving God. Some act as though God will not act according to his own words and punish disobedience as He promised. With that in mind, I agree that He treats us as we deserve.


Just below the "Why?" question, you bring up the concept of "friends" with Jesus. In the very verses you quote, John 15:10-15, He is speaking to those apostles who have been with Him through thick and thin. I am hesitant to make the inductive reasoning step that He is speaking to us in that passage. We assume that when He said "for everything that I have learned from my Father I have made known to you.", that all that information was passed to us in the Scriptures. However, we know from John 21:25 that we may have missed some of those events that caused them to draw close enough for Him to be calling them "friends".

While I agree He was sending us a message, we should be careful not to "over-assume". Please understand, this is not to say we should not try to be His friend by loving others and obeying, but some take liberties in that direction when they don't even know the real Jesus. Remember Hebrews 12:6, "because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son."

Does this mean we are His adopted children, "friends", or both? These are both relationships, but to me, being an adopted son does not necessarily equate to being His "friend" in the same way He called Abraham his friend (James 2:23). And, we have to remember, Abraham was there with Him as the apostles were there with Jesus. You are absolutely correct when you say that "this is God's (or Jesus') relationship with us, not vice-versa".

Job well done

I have to commend you on a well-written response, complete with pertinent references which are often lacking in many responses. I look forward to future responses on any of the other pages on this site that stimulate your interest. Thanks, Levi.


Disagree? Find an error? Contact us at and give us your view.

Contact Us | Back to Top

Discussions ::

Levi - 9/26/17



I agree with your viewpoint on a relationship with Jesus Christ and how it pertains to a personal relationship with Him. I do, however, believe that a personal relationship with Him is highly beneficial, and if not, essential to the Christian life after salvation - that is, essential to sanctification.

I see that it is indeed very true that a personal relationship with Christ does not grant eternal life; the thief on the cross arguably did not have any such relationship with Jesus. Even if he did, it was not that, but his repentance and faith that brought him Christ's salvation. Perhaps some well-meaning Christians get carried away with the idea of a relationship, and they depict the Christian life the way they're used to seeing it in their own life believing that a relationship is what saves them.

Before I go any farther, I will state that I agree (I believe) with your given definitions of "relationship" as well as the several different kinds.

Just as good works are not essential to salvation but are instead a byproduct of it (Ephesians 2:8-10), a relationship with Jesus is - as I believe - the same way. To properly present and defend this idea, allow me to back up: The Holy Spirit is also another of these "byproducts" to salvation, and He also much more directly so.

Since Pentecost, the Holy Spirit is given unconditionally to every believer at the time of salvation (John 14:15-16, I Corinthians 6:19-20, Chapter 12, II Corinthians 13:14, Ephesians 4:30, Acts 10:44-48, 11:16-18, 19:1-6, Titus 3:5*These passages may support but not necessarily prove the ideas presented*). Though being "filled with the Holy Spirit" (as seen throughout the book of Acts and in many other places in the Bible) does not necessarily happen to us 24/7 since we sometimes may not yield to Him or we "grieve him" (Acts 5:3, Acts 4:31 Ephesians 4:30), the Holy Spirit is vital to the Christian life: following Christ, receiving and using spiritual gifts (I Corinthians 12), being sanctified (Romans 15:13-16, Galatians 5:16-26), spreading the Gospel (Mark 16:15-18), etc.

While I understand that a lot of this argument is inductive reasoning, the Holy Spirit is clearly important to this discussion because He is the Comforter. The one Jesus sent to Comfort us while He is away. You may see where I am going with this, and true: this idea of the Holy Spirit being the Comforter probably meant the most to the first Twelve Apostles, but I believe that the Holy Spirit is our Comforter as well. He was a Comforter to the Churches throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria mentioned in Acts 9:31. Some of these people had probably seen Jesus before he was taken up to Heaven. Some probably had not. Likely, a very small percentage of them had had a personal relationship with Him or had got to speak with Him at all before he left.

Either way, many believers other than the first twelve disciples were comforted by the Holy Spirit in those days, many of whom are hardly different from us today. We have never seen Jesus (at least most of us would say that). We have never spoken directly to Him in conversation. We have never touched Him or heard Him. That is why God gave us the Holy Spirit just as He did to the early believers.

Now I agree that we have a relationship to God as slave-to-master. But I believe that by God's grace, He, in addition, treats us as so much more.


I could bring up the argument that God loves us and wants us to be our "friend". From what you said - or at least as I understood it - the problem with that argument is that such ideas presented in John 15:10-15 where Jesus says that we "are [His] friends, if we do whatsoever [He] command[s] [us]” and the passage about Abraham, is that this is God's (or Jesus') relationship with us, not vice-versa. It is a personal relationship but from the other way around.

I could bring up the fact that God wants us to love Him with all our heart, soul, and mind, (Matthew 22:37). The problem with that is that, again, it also sounds like a slave-to-master relationship - or a disciple-to-teacher - not to mention that this is a command, not necessarily an invitation.

Instead, what we need is a personal relationship that invites us. We need an invitation from God if this idea of a personal relationship is to be proven true. Secondly, we need a relationship that isn't one-sided, for lack of a better word; we need God to be our friend as well as we being His, in order for it to be a personal relationship.

Those, from what I can see, are our two issues.

I confess that anything we could come up with to remedy this would certainly be different from the sort of everyday relationship with friends that we are used to: especially since we have defined a personal relationship as "the way in which two or more people or groups regard and behave towards each other."

And even if I could prove that we are called and invited to be sons of God by His love and grace as it says in I John 3:1-2, we have the free will even then to be a good son or a bad son.

Or do we?

I John goes on to say that "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin, for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot, sin because he is born of God" (see verse 9).

This is a hard concept to grasp for me, but my main argument is in Romans 8. Here is verse 14: "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are sons of God." That's very straightforward. But is it a personal sort of relationship? Is it both-sided? Those were the two issues stated above.

But Paul goes on. "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together."

Beautiful passage. Again, this relationship is different because our mediator, so to speak, is the Holy Spirit, and He is indeed essential to it all. But it is still a relationship. An indirect, yet personal one.

It's like we are writing to a distant King for comfort. A king who has ransomed us, and his representative is delivering our letters to him - even speaking for us when we don't know what to say (see verse 26). The beauty of it is that this representative is also God Himself, just as much as Jesus was God as the Son. This Son will return one day to receive His Father's Kingdom and "we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body."

Finally, the chapter ends with the ending (that I hope) we all know well. "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

That is an amazing kind of love. If God loves us like that and gives us the Holy Spirit; and if we have the sort of relationship that allows us to cry "Abba Father," than that is a relationship that is both personal and both-sided.

All we need is the touch of the loving and sanctifying Holy Sprit of God.