A DEIST is someone with a theory about a supreme being. His speculations about that being arise out of his own finite, sin corrupted resources. The Deist does not claim to have a personal relationship with his god. Nor can he, for the obvious reason that it has no real existence!
So Deism is merely a sophisticated form of idolatry. Its idol is not a statue of stone or wood, but it is just as unworthy of worship and just as harmful to its worshipers as are those physical monstrosities.
Then we have the false religionist, the one who has “…a form of godliness but denies the power thereof” (2 Timothy 3:5). For him, everything is external and mechanical so to speak. The wooing Voice of Proverbs 23:26 says, “My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways.” The false religionist has no ears to hear those precious words.
But the Bible tells us that the fear of the LORD is the beginning of true knowledge and wisdom (Proverbs 1:7, 9:10 et. al.). The one who fears the self-revealing, triune God of the Bible does indeed have a personal relationship with his heavenly Father, his Lord Jesus, and the One Who indwells him, the Holy Spirit.
The Christian, by the power of the Holy Spirit, receives the holy Bible’s essential Gospel message about Christ the eternal Son of God becoming man to accomplish redemption for all the heavenly Father’s family. By grace, he is both born again and adopted into that family. His spirit cries to God, “Abba…Father!”
In His high priestly prayer the Lord Jesus said, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. (John 17:3)
The inspired words of the apostle John, who was right by Jesus’ side when He instituted the Lord’s supper, teach us the same truth. “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. (1 John 5:20)
So of course it is quite accurate for the believer who is bearing witness to an unbelieving Deist neighbor to proclaim that he is not a fellow speculator about what a supreme being might be like. Rather, he testifies that he was lost in darkness but then was found by the one true God. He affirms that he knows that one, true God in a personal way.
And it is quite accurate for the believer bearing witness to the false religionist to say, “I don’t have a religion, I have a personal relationship with Jesus.” The disciple is one who says amen to the apostolic affirmation, “…though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8).
So we rejoice in what Jesus said in His high priestly prayer recorded in John 17: “this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” But more must be said about the believer’s personal relationship with God triune.
That is, we want to continue to be Biblical as we grow in our understanding of a believer’s relationship with His heavenly Father, His dear and only Savior, and the blessed Spirit: the three divine Persons with Whom we finite persons are involved. And we want our aspirations for more and more communion with God to be like the apostle Paul’s: “…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death…” (Philippians 3:10)
May God use these three precepts derived from His word to guide us thereto:
1. The basis of our finite, creaturely relationships with God is the eternal covenant of redemption which inheres in the eternal relationships of the three Members of the Trinity. Their loving plan stood from all eternity: The Father would send the Son to accomplish redemption and the Holy Spirit would apply it.
Likewise our relationship to God is primarily covenantal. The place of the mind and affections in one’s relationship with God is subordinate to this. Human marriage, primarily a covenant, is much like God’s covenant relationship with His people. In fact, human attempts to redefine marriage are despicable because marriage represents the eternal union of Christ and the church according to the covenant of redemption. Just as we argue for the sanctity of human life because of the image of God in us, so we argue for the sanctity of marriage because it represents the divine Groom and His elect bride.
2. Communication in our relationship with God is not characterized by the verbal dissonance, misunderstanding, and interruptions which corrupt relationships between human persons. Former ways having ceased (Hebrews 1:1), the personal God speaks to us now only by His holy word the Bible. Surely, by His Spirit we gain insights and make discoveries from Scripture, but Scripture itself teaches that no other words of private, verbal revelation are needed for the present time. (2 Timothy 3:17)
We communicate with God by prayer, ever seeking to conform to Scripture our adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and intercession (A.C.T.S.) along with any other kinds of prayer, trusting in the “coming-along-side” help of the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, who makes intercession for us with groanings that cannot be uttered, Romans 8:26.
3. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” (James 1:17) In our relationships with God, we ever remember that one Party (the Lord) is unchangeable and the other party (us) is not; we are all too often fickle and unfaithful. Let us ever keep that in mind when there is an estrangement in our relationship with God. If we feel distant from Him, it is not He Who has moved!
Previously published, July A.D. 2016