God is a personal God. There are three individual Persons Who make up the Godhead.
And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (Matt. 3:16-17).
God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are present in this passage, and they are clearly three separate Persons.
God also has an interest in each being of His creation: “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?” (Luke 12:6). God’s interest is far more keenly seen toward mankind, whom He made ruler over all His creation (Gen. 1:26-28). The sparrows of which God takes note are of small value compared to that of each human being: “But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows” (Luke 12:7). Jesus emphasized the value of one human being’s soul when He asked, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:26). One soul is worth more than all the world, and “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9). Christ is the only way to salvation (John 14:6), and it is essential that one has a certain relationship with Him if that person desires his soul to be saved.
However, in modern denominational terminology—“the speech of Ashdod” (Neh. 13:24)—a “personal relationship with Jesus” has come to mean something far different from any Scriptural concept of such.
One denominational website features an article entitled, “Personal Relationship with Jesus? Hah!” This article contains the following “characteristics of personal relationships”:
1. You recognize each other’s voice over the phone before they identify themselves.
2. You also recognize their handwriting.
3. You share each other’s feelings & hopes.
4. You spend time playing together.
5. You provide mutual emotional support for each other, as needed.
6. You tolerate imperfections in each other.
7. You communicate w/gestures in addition to words (“That look”)
8. You spend time together without much concern over what, if anything, is getting done.
9. You require interaction. It is not a very personal relationship if the communication back-and-forth between the people isn’t personal.
10. Mass market communication is not personal. Something written to ‘everyone’ is not personal.
While applying such criteria to human relationships would certainly be subjective, applying such to relationships with Christ is blasphemous. Brief response is given to each of these.
1. Jesus is not going to call anyone on the telephone.
2. The writer’s reference to handwriting is vague.
3. Christians indeed strive to grow more like Christ, and thus to share His feelings of love for His Father and for mankind, and in the hope of eternal life.
4. Christians do not “play together” with Christ! While Christians have authority to participate in recreational activities and must continue to manifest Christ in their lives during such activities, Christ will not interact in playing.
5. Christ provides emotional support for Christians, but the Divine Christ has no need for “emotional support.”
6. Christ has no imperfections (Heb. 4:15; 1 Pet. 1:19; 2:22). He may tolerate imperfections in mankind, but He cannot tolerate sin—the very reason He had to die for all humanity.
No. 7 is ludicrous, as is No. 8: Jesus has a great concern for what, and whether anything, is getting done (John 4:34; 9:4; Rev. 2:5).
Nos. 9 and 10: Jesus speaks to us through His word: “God…hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son” (Heb. 1:1-2). This is something that has already taken place, yet the words continue to speak to each person who will hear (Rev. 2:29; et al.). His word gives each person “all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (2 Pet. 1:3).
The writer’s concept of what a “personal relationship” needs to be is self designed and has nothing to do with what the Scriptures teach one’s relationship with Jesus is to be. The apostle Paul described his relationship with Jesus: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). The relationship the Christian has with Christ is different than any held between any two human beings. It may not have some of the characteristics of relationships we consider to be our closest on earth. Yet it is far more beautiful. Christ is described to be in us, and we in Him (Gal. 3:27). Christ showed His love for us by dying for us on the cross, we continue to show our love for Him by following His word (John 14:15). Could any relationship be more personal?