We turn now to the next chapter; Substantial Healing in Personal Relationships. So we must first turn to the problem of personality, and specifically to the elements of love and communication as we must grasp that central and key to our understanding is the fact that God is a personal God. The Christian system of thought and life begins with a God who is infinite and personal, with a strong emphasis on his personality. Because of this, personality is truly valid and central in the universe and is not just a matter of chance.
Throughout the Word of God it is made very plain that God deals with us first of all on the basis of what he himself is; and secondly on the basis of what he has made us. He will not violate that which he himself is, nor will he violate that which he has made us to be. So God himself always deals with man on a basis of personal relationship. It is always a person-to-person relationship. More than this, because God is infinite he can deal with each one of us personally as though each one was the only man who existed. He can deal with us personally because he is infinite. We also find that God’s dealing with men is never mechanical. There are no mechanical elements to it. His dealing with man is also not primarily legal, though there are proper legal aspects to it which are founded and rooted in God’s own character.
The God of the Bible differs from the gods that man makes. He is a God who has a character, and that character is the law of the universe, total and complete. When man sins, he breaks that law, and because that law is broken, man is guilty and God must deal with us in this proper legal relationship. Therefore, since we have been sinners, we must be justified before we can come to God. But though God does deal with us in the proper legal relationship, nevertheless centrally he does not deal with us legally, but personally.
Our theme in the next few days as we finish our study in this book is true spirituality in relation to the problem of my separation from my fellowman. It is appropriate that the first ‘other’ we must take into consideration is God, rather than another man.
Just as God always deals with man on the basis of what God is, and what we are, we should and must do the same in regard to our thoughts about God and our dealings with him. Our relationship with God must never be thought of as mechanical. That is why a strong sacerdotal system must always be wrong. We can never deal with God in a mechanical sense, and we should not deal with him on a merely legal basis, though there are these proper legal relationships. Our relationship with God after we have become a Christian (become justified) must always be centrally a person-to-person relationship.
Of course, there is this distinction that must not be forgotten, that he is a Creator and we are creatures; therefore, in all my thoughts and acts toward God I must keep the creature-Creator relationship in mind. This however, does not alter the person-to-person nature of our relationship. So the command is to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind. He is satisfied with nothing less than my loving him. I am not called merely to be justified. Man was created to be in a personal fellowship with God and to love him. Prayer is always to be seen as a person-to-person communication, not merely a devotional exercise. Indeed, when prayer becomes only a devotional exercise, it is no longer biblical prayer.
Thoughts developed or used directly from the work of Schaeffer, Francis. True Spirituality . Tyndale House Publishers, Inc