Vol. 3, No. 12
By Basil Overton
Yes, I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. This does not mean I have met him in person. This does not mean I have felt him touch me. This does not mean he has come to me in person and spoken to me. Those who say they have had such personal experiences with Jesus may be sincere, but they are sincerely wrong.
Someone may ask how anyone could have a personal relationship with Jesus without having such experiences as those stated above. My personal relationship with Jesus is not by feeling or fantasy, but by faith. What is this kind of faith? It is believing what Jesus and those whom he guided by divine inspiration have said in the New Testament. When one ignores this New Testament teaching, he cannot have a personal relationship with Jesus. He has neither the Son of God nor God the Father (2 John 9)! One should be very careful not to substitute emotional upsurges and fantasy for the Word of God!
It is very personal! I am in Christ because I have been baptized into Christ (Galatians 3:27; Romans 6:3-4). Not only am I in Christ (Colossians 1:2), Christ is in me (Colossians 1:27). This also means I am in the body of Christ which is his church (Colossians 1:18; 3:15). Believing all this makes me feel good, but my feeling good about it is not the proof of it. The proof of it is that the New Testament says it.
I cannot comprehend how Christ dwells in me, neither can I comprehend how I dwell in Christ, but I believe both because of what the New Testament says and because I have done what it says to get into Christ. If I had to have some kind of feeling to know Christ is in me and I am in him, it would not be by faith but by feeling!
My personal relationship with Jesus means I am a member of his body which is his church (Colossians 1:18; 3:15). We know from the New Testament that to be in Christ is the same as being in his body. It follows, therefore, that being in Christ is equivalent to being in his church. How wonderfully personal it is to be a member of Christ's body!
I can truthfully, and by faith, say that I am a member of the body of Christ because nearly 50 years ago (September 1, 1941) I believed in Jesus as the most wonderful person that ever lived in this world; I believed in him as the Son of the living God because he said if I did not do this I would die in my sins (John 8:21-24). I repented of my sins and confessed my faith in that most wonderful person that ever lived in this world and was baptized into him, or into his body, the church (Acts 2:38; Romans 10:9-10; 6:3-4; Galatians 3:27).
My personal relationship with Jesus includes my worshipping God just as Jesus said I must do in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). Such worship makes me feel good, but my feeling good is not the proof it is right. The only proof I can have that it is right is that the New Testament says do it! There need not be hoopla and ballyhoo, nor can there be, in worship that is in spirit and truth.
My personal relationship with Jesus does not mean that I worship merely for what I can get out of it, but instead I engage in it to worship and praise and honor God my Father through his Son Jesus Christ. This is a solemn and serious time for me and very personal. It is a time of joy, but the joy need not be and should not be expressed with outlandish gestures and undue outbursts as though it were a circus. This does not mean we should not sing enthusiastically in worship. How could one not sing enthusiastically when he sings about "the wonderful love of Jesus"?
My personal relationship with Jesus also involves continually spreading the Gospel. In 46 years of preaching the Gospel, I have never "burned out." Spreading the Gospel by writing is one of my chief joys. The World Evangelist [monthly religious journal in tabloid format on newsprint edited and published by Basil Overton] is a tool of evangelism. Through it, people all over the world have opportunity to learn the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Not every Christian man can be a public preacher, and no Christian woman is authorized to preach publicly. But every Christian can do something to help get the Gospel to others, even if it is inviting people to attend church services where they can learn the Gospel.
When I help widows and orphans and the deprived, I am engaged in my personal relationship with Jesus. Such action is so personally involved with Jesus that Jesus said when I do such I am doing it for him!
"Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" (Matthew 25:34-40).