Communion with God
“How would you describe your relationship with the Lord?” I asked, gazing across my desk.
The young man replied, “Good.”
I thought to myself, “Good? Good? What does it mean that your relationship with the Lord is good? In whose eyes? Yours? His?” My thoughts never descended to my tongue. What did proceed from my mouth was meant to clarify the issue. “Would you say that you have communion with God?”
How would you answer that question? Do you commune with almighty God? Studying the Puritans has led me to conclude that these saints of old could be characterized as a people who communed with God. I am left convicted when I compare my walk to theirs. More than simply to know God fully, these men and women sought to commune with Him intimately. They wanted to know Him and be known by Him. No dichotomy existed between head and heart knowledge.
As I survey the landscape of modern American Christianity, I find a glaring lack of communion with God. I would not classify the church today with that description.Instead, these words come to mind in describing the present condition of the church: busy, flashy, plastic, materialistic, and overly consumed with social justice and welfare, but not devoted to communion with God. Consider believers you know. How many would you label with the phrase: One who communes with God?
What is Communion with God?
“Having a personal relationship with God” falls into our Christian vernacular, but what does that phrase actually mean? If this phrase accurately summarizes biblical faith, we should be genuinely concerned for the modern church. Ritual, tradition, and public faith pervades the canvas - not private, spiritual vitality.
Through the next few blog posts, I want to develop the concept of communing with God. To start with today, I am going to borrow a simple explanation of communion with God from John Owen. This great Puritan penned a devotional treatise in 1657 titled Communion with God. In it, he makes this observation: “Our communion with God lies in his giving himself to us and our giving ourselves and all that he requires to him. This communion with God flows from that union which is in Christ Jesus” (Puritan Paperbacks, 3).
True communion with God is initiated by God’s work to reconcile us to Himself; it continues as we respond in giving ourselves back to Him. Jesus came to redeem us and bring us to God (1 Pet. 3:19). Because of His work, we are then able to respond in giving ourselves to Him. How this practically plays out will be developed in the next few posts.
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