There are some cult leaders who argued that you do not need a personal relationship with Jesus Christ anymore since He is no longer with us physically. They even reason that Jesus could not be your personal Lord and Savior. They asked, “Have you met Jesus personally here in the Philippines? Is Jesus like a personal toothbrush that you can just use for yourself?”
So what do we mean by a personal relationship with Jesus? After all, Thomas confessed and declared “My Lord and My God!” if transliterated “The Lord of me and the God of me!” (Gk. ὁ Κύριός μου καὶ ὁ Θεός μου). Surely, this is a personal admittance of Thomas that Jesus was his personal Lord and God (Savior).
He did not just said, “Our Lord and Our God!”
You will usually hear the phrase personal relationship with Jesus in connection with salvation. This is because faith in Jesus usually leads to a living fellowship or communion with the Triune God. The Greek word for fellowship and communion is koinonia that came from the root word koinos meaning something in common, like “common faith” and “common salvation” (Tit. 1:4; Jud. 1:3).
The Greeks value individuals and individual rights, yet understanding their duty to the society as they are integrated into it. Thus, Pythagoras, Aristotle, along with the Cynics and Stoics tried to develop a sense of community and brotherhood where they could have something in common.
The Greek term koinonia is a very personal term used by the Christian believers during the time in the early century as they fellowship or commune with one another. This is the same idea that John and Paul had when they used it in relation to the Lord. In other words, to have fellowship or communion with the Father, with the Son, and with the Holy Spirit is to involved oneself in a personal relationship with them. If you will try to look up the word fellowship in an English dictionary it also means “friendly association especially with somebody who shares one’s interest.” Other words for fellowship in a Thesaurus speaks of companionship, camaraderie, friendship, mutual support, intimacy, closeness, togetherness, etc. that refers to a very personal relationship. And this is what the Greek word koinonia truly describes.
Since believers are in koinonia with each other, they have something in common to which they are called to fellowship with one another.
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship (Gk. κοινωνια), to the breaking of bread and the prayers. – Acts 2:42
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship (Gk. κοινωνια) with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. – 1 John 1:7
The apostles’ Paul and John also called the believers to have fellowship (Gk. κοινωνια) with the three distinct divine Persons of the Trinity: the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Believers are called to fellowship, that is, have a personal relationship with the Father and His Son.
that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship (Gk. κοινωνια) is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. – 1 John 1:3
God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship (Gk. κοινωνια) of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. – 1 Corinthians 1:9
Believers are also called to fellowship, that is, have a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship (Gk. κοινωνια, communion) of the Holy Spirit be with you all. – 2 Corinthians 13:14
If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship (Gk. κοινωνια) with the Spirit, – Philippians 2:1
The believers can surely have a personal relationship with Jesus because He is the omnipresent God who will always be with us wherever we go.
teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:20
When Judgment Day finally comes, the Lord Jesus will only allow into His eternal dwelling those whom He knew (Gk. εγνων), meaning those who had a personal relationship with Him for this is the will of His Father.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew (Gk, εγνων, intimacy, relationship) you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ – Matthew 7:21-23
In relation to the word “knew” the Greek word is “ἔγνων” which is from the Greek word of ginosko which does not only mean knowledge about somebody but intimacy or personal relationship. Some additional biblical references would probably help. When Adam “knew” Eve does that only mean Adam had knowledge of Eve? Obviously not in the Hebrew word יָדַע because this actually refers to an intimate personal relationship between a husband and a wife. You will notice how the literal and dynamic versions translate that particular Hebrew word.
And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. – Gen. 4:1, KJV
Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD.” – Gen. 4:1, ESV
Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man.” – Gen. 4:1, NIV
Adam was intimate with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain. She said, “I have had a male child with the LORD’S help.” – Gen. 4:1, HCSB
Then Adam had intercourse with his wife, and she became pregnant. She bore a son and said, “By the LORD’s help I have gotten a son.” So she named him Cain. – Gen. 4:1, GNB
The same Hebrew word is the Greek counterpart of the word “knew” use in Matthew 1:24,25 and 7:23. You will notice again the versions below.
When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus. – Matthew 1:24-25, ESV
When Joseph got up from sleeping, he did as the Lord’s angel had commanded him. He married her but did not know her intimately until she gave birth to a son. And he named Him Jesus. – Matthew 1:24-25, HCSB
Then I will tell them publicly, ‘I’ve never known you. Get away from me, you evil people.’ – Matthew 7:23, GNB
One’s personal relationship with other people may not be as intimate as that with their spouse. But there is a much deeper personal intimate relationship that we should have, more than that with our spouse, it’s with our God. The words of Jesus when he said, “I never knew you” or “I have never known you” speaks of a personal intimate relationship with Him. It’s like Him saying, “I never had a personal intimate relationship with you, depart from me.”
Unless people all over the world understand this then they will only find themselves outside of the kingdom of God. The cults normally preach about the name of their religious group saying that unless you become “a member of our church” then you will not be saved. They want people to “know” their church and to be “intimate” with their church not knowing that they should have a personal intimate relationship with a Person to experience salvation. And that Person is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ who is inviting them to a personal relationship with Him by saying,
“Come to me, all who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28, ESV
2 thoughts on “The Biblical Case for a Personal Relationship with Jesus Christ”
Hello! I just have a question because I checked the interlinear translation on the internet showing that Gk. κοινωνια means relationship only, not “personal” relationship. Moreover, in Matthew 7:21-23, it shows that the word used is ἔγνων that means “knew”. I think it is far synonymous to “personal relationship”.
Thank you for your thoughts. The term “relationship” in relation with two cognitive being is still considered as “personal relationship” since thought, experience, and senses are involved between the two. And this is what the Greek word koinonia also conveys. And the Greek word ἔγνων is a derivative of the Greek word γινώσκω which is also used between a husband and a wife in relation to personal intimacy (see Matt. 1:24-25 where the Greek word ἐγίνωσκεν was used).