Our relationship with Christ is all important. But what does having a “relationship with Christ” actually mean? Stephen H. Travis in the conclusion to his book “Christ and the Judgement of God” notes that he does not want to fall into the trap of using “relationship with Christ” as “a vague slogan without any precise content” and then goes on and gives a quick survey of New Testament passages that describe having a relationship with Christ. I think it is a nice, non sectarian listing of what the NT says about relationship with Christ. I’ll just quote Travis with some formatting changes for readability.
…In all four groups of [New Testament] literature faith and deeds are connected in the closest possible way.
“Relation to Christ, then, is the criterion of judgement. Women and men are judged according to whether they respond to Christ in faith and obedience or not. Readers of this book may sometimes have wondered whether the word ‘relationship’ was being used too vaguely, as a slogan without any precise content. But it does have a defined content in all the literature we have looked at. A positive relationship to Christ is defined as:
Synoptic Gospels: ‘believing’, ‘following’, ‘becoming a child’, ‘hearing my words and doing them’, ‘saying Abba’;
John: ‘believing’, ‘knowing God’, ‘loving’, ‘abiding’, ‘you in me and I in you’;
Apostle Paul’s writings: ‘believing’, ‘being in Christ’, ‘faith working through love’;
Revelation: ‘hearing my voice and opening the door’, ‘keeping his word and not denying his name’, ‘faithfulness until death’, ‘conquering’.
And in all four groups of literature faith and deeds are connected in the closest possible way.
Hence judgement is passed not according to a rather arbitrary intellectual assent, but according to a person’s total direction of life and relation to God.”