Francis Schaeffer – Quotes from True Spirituality
… you are not Christ’s disciple, in the sense of following him, if this is not your way of life: rejected and slain daily! – 28
Here we are told that Christ really lives in me, if I have accepted Christ as my Savior. In other words, we have the words of Jesus to the thief of the cross, ‘Today thou wilt be with me in paradise.’ Christ can say, ‘Today thou wilt be with me in paradise,’ and mean it. To die is to be with the Lord. It is not just an idea, it is a reality. But at the same time, Christ, the same Christ who gives the promise just as definitely, that when I have accepted Christ as my savior, he lives in me. They are equal reality. They are two streams of present reality, both equally promised. The Christian dead are already with Christ now, and Christ really lives in the Christian. Christ lives in me. The Christ who was crucified, the Christ whose work is finished, the Christ who is glorified now, has promised (John 15) to bring forth fruit in the Christian, just as the sap of the vine brings forth the fruit in the branch.
TRUE CHRISTIAN MYSTICISM
Here is true Christian mysticism. Christian mysticism is not the same as non-Christian mysticism, but I would insist that it is not a lesser mysticism. Indeed, eventually it is a deeper mysticism, for it is not based merely on contentless experience, but on historic, space-time reality – on propositional truth. One is not asked to deny the reason, the intellect, in true Christian mysticism. And there is to be no loss of personality, no loss of the individual man. In Eastern mysticism – for which the West is searching so madly now that it has lost the sense of history, of content, and the truth of biblical facts – there is always finally a loss of the personality. It cannot be otherwise in their framework. You will remember the story of Shiva, who is one of the manifestations of the Everything. He came and loved a mortal woman. Shiva put his arms around this woman in his love, and immediately she disappeared and he became neuter. This is Eastern mysticism. It is grounded in the loss of personality of the individual. Not so Christian mysticism. Christian mysticism is communion with Christ. It is Christ bringing forth fruit through me, the Christian, with no loss of personality and without my being used as a stick or a stone, either. – 54-55
Hudson Taylor said, “The Lord’s work done in the Lord’s way will never fail to have the Lord’s provision.” …The Lord’s work done in human energy is not the Lord’s work any longer. It is something, but it is not the Lord’s work. – 64
But the fact that Christ as the bridegroom brings forth fruit through me as the bride, through the agency of the indwelling Holy Spirit by faith, opens the way for me as a Christian to begin to know in the present life the reality of the supernatural. This is where the Christian is to live. Doctrine is important, but it is not an end in itself. There is to be an experiential reality, moment by moment. 69-70
Preaching the gospel without the Holy Spirit is to miss the entire point of the command of Jesus Christ for our era. In the area of “Christian activities” or “Christian service,” how we are doing it is at least as important as what we are doing. – 71-72
TODAY’S CALL TO WALK BY FAITH
Eternity will be wonderful, but there is one thing heaven will not contain, and that is the call, the possibility, and the privilege of living a supernatural life here and now by faith, before we meet Jesus face to face. – 72
Salvation is unity. When I accepted Christ as my Savior, when my guilt was gone, I returned to the place for which I was originally made. Man has a purpose. In this second half of the twentieth century, one is constantly confronted with the question, “What is the purpose of man – if man has any purpose?” And to that question twentieth returns a great silence. But the Bible says that man has the purpose of loving God with all his heart, with all his soul, with all his mind. And this “loving” is not meant to be vague or “religious,” in the modern sense, but a genuine communication with God: the finite person, thinking and acting and feeling, being in relationship with the infinite – not a bare infinite, but an infinite who is a personal God, and therefore communication is possible. This is the purpose of man, though lost through the fall. And when I accept Christ as my Savior, the guilt that has separated me from God, and from the fulfillment of my purpose, is removed. I then stand in the place in which man was made to stand at his creation. Not just in some far-off day, in the millennial reign of Christ, nor in eternity, but now I am retuned to the place for which I was made at the beginning. I am immediately in a new and living relationship with each of the three persons of the Trinity. – 75-76
“The great distinction of a true Christian is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. How careful should he be, lest anything in his thoughts or feelings would be offensive to the Divine Guest.!” – 82
WHY THE CHRISTIAN LACKS FRUIT
There are two main reasons why we may not be bringing forth the fruit we should. It may be because of ignorance, because we may never have been taught the meaning of the work of Christ for our present lives.
There are five possible “ignorances” in this area.
First, the Christian may have been taught how to be justified but never taught that present meaning of the work of Christ for him.
Second, he may have been taught to become a Christian through the instrumentality of faith, but then he may have been left, as though from that point on the Christian life has to be lived in his own strength.
Third, he may have been taught the opposite. That is, that having accepted Christ, in some antinomian way it does not now matter how he lives.
Fourth, he may have been taught some kind of second blessing, which would make him perfect in this life when he receives it. This the Bible does not teach. And therefore he just waits hopelessly, or tries to act upon that which is not.
Fifth, he may never have been taught that there is reality of faith to be acted on consciously after justification. This last point is the point of ignorance of many who stand in the orthodox and historic stream of the Reformation. – 84
JUSTIFICATION AND SANCTIFICATION
In justification the basis is the finished work of Jesus Christ; in sanctification it is the finished work of Christ. In justification we must see, acknowledge, and act upon the fact that we cannot save ourselves. In sanctification we must, acknowledge, and act upon the fact that we cannot live the Christian life in our own strength, or in our goodness.
In justification the instrument by which we receive the free gift of God is faith, which believes God as he has given us his promises in the Bible. In sanctification the instrument by which we receive the free gift of God is faith, which believes God as he has given us his promises in the Bible. It is exactly the same thing. There is one difference between the practice of justification and sanctification. As justification deals with our guilt, and sanctification deals with the problem of the power of sin in our lives as Christians, justification is once for all, and the Christian life is moment by moment. There is a difference in that one deals with the guilt of my sin, and the other deals with the power of sin in my life. – 85
So we must believe God’s promises at this one moment in which we are. Consequently, in believing God’s promise, we apply them – the present meaning of the work of Christ for the Christian – for and in this one moment. If you only can that, everything changes. As we believe God for this moment, the Holy Spirit is not quenched. And through his agency, the risen and glorified Christ, as the bridegroom of the bride, the vine, brings forth his fruit through us, at this moment. This is the practice of active passivity. And it is the only way anybody can live; there is no other way to live but moment by moment. (emphasis mine) – 86
LIVING BY FAITH
The reality of living by faith as though we were already dead, of living by faith in open communion with God, and then stepped back into the external world as though we are already raised from the dead, this is not once for all, it is a matter of moment-by-moment faith, and living moment by moment. This morning’s faith will never do for this noon. The faith of this noon will never do for supper time. The faith of supper time will never do for the next morning. Thank God for the reality for which we were created, a moment-by-moment communication with God himself. – 87
And the purpose of our creation, in which all our subsidiary purposes fit, is to be in a personal relationship to God, in communion with him, in love, by choice, the creature before the Creator. – 88
Eve doubted God, and I as a child of God am now to be exactly the opposite: I am to believe him. Eve doubted, and mankind in revolt doubts God. To believe him, not just when I accept Christ as Savior, but every moment, one moment at a time: this is the Christian life, and this is true spirituality. (emphasis mine) – 89
Now the question arises, whether we could expect to have perfection, either totally or even for this one moment. And I would suggest that such an expression simply gets caught in a swamp, in which we have endless discussions concerning some abstract idea of complete victory, even in this “one moment.” The phrase that often is used is that we have freedom from “all known sin.” But I feel that as we consider first the Word of God and then human experience, we must understand that there is a problem in the word “known,” and also a problem in the word “conscious,” if we talk of “conscious” sin. The problem in using both or either of these words is the fact that since the fall man has habitually fooled himself. We fool ourselves deep inside our subconscious and unconscious nature. – 95
When my conscience under the Holy Spirit makes me aware of a specific sin I should at once call that sin sin and bring it consciously under the blood of Christ. Now it is covered and it is not honoring to the finished work of Jesus Christ to worry about it, as far as my relationship to God is concerned. Indeed, to worry about it is to do spite to the infinite value of the death of the Son of God. My fellowship with God is restored. – 104
Reality is not meant to be only creedal, though the creeds are important. Reality is to be experienced, and experienced on the basis of a restored relationship with God through that finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. – 105
Ignorance is in relationship to content; it is not just a spirit of ignorance. In verse 21 it speaks of “the truth in Jesus.” Truth is content, truth has something to do with reason. Truth has something to do with the rational creature that God has made us. The dilemma here in the internal world is not just some sort of grey fog, it is in relationship to content. – 108
If men act upon the teaching of the Word of God, and as proportionately men live according to the teaching and commands of the Bible, so they have in practice a sufficient psychological base. I will find you a man dealing with psychological problems on the basis of the teaching of the Word of God, even if he never heard the word psychology, or does not know what it means. – 145
The command is to love him, not just to think about him, or do things for him. We are not to stop with a proper legal relationship – for example, to think of a man as legally lost, which he is, in the sight of a holy God – without thinking of him as a person. Saying this, we can suddenly see that much evangelism is not only sub-Christian, but subhuman – legalistic and impersonal. – 151
Or we can put it in yet another way. The Christian is to be a demonstration of the existence of God. But if we as individual Christians, and as the Church, act on less than personal relationship to other men, where is the demonstration that God the Creator is personal. If there is no demonstration in our attitude toward other men that we really take seriously the person-to-person relationship, we might as well keep quiet. There must be a demonstration; that is our calling: to show that there is a reality in personal relationship, and not just words about it. If the individual Christian, and if the Church of Christ, is not allowing the Lord Jesus Christ to bring forth his fruit into the world, as a demonstration in the area of personal relationships, we cannot expect the world to believe. Lovelessness is a sea which knows no shore, for it is what God is not. And eventually not only will the other man drown, but I will drown, and worst of all, the demonstration of God drowns as well when there is nothing to be seen but a sea of lovelessness and impersonality. As Christians, we are not to be in fellowship with false doctrine. But in the very midst of the battle against false teaching, we must not forget the proper personal relationship. – 153
There needs to be an order of office, but in every single office that is presented in the Scriptures there is the personal emphasis within that legal concept. In the Church the elder is an office-bearer. But both the preaching elders and the ruling elders are “ministers,” and the word “minister” is a personal relationship, it does not speak of dominance. There is to be order in the Church, but the preaching elder or the ruling elder is to be a minister, with a loving personal relationship with those who are before him, even when they are wrong and need admonition. – 156
But what is the usual reaction when God says to me, “Go and make it right”? It is to answer, “But that would be humiliating.” Yet surely, if I have been willing to tell God I am sorry when I have sinned, I must be willing to tell this to the man I have hurt. How can I say, “I am sorry” to God, if I am not willing to say, “I am sorry” to the man I have hurt, when he is my equal, my fellow creature, my kind? Such a repentance is meaningless hypocrisy. This is why so many of us have deadness in our lives. We cannot just trample human relationships and expect our relationship to God to be lovely, beautiful, and open. This is not only a matter of what is legally right, but of a true relationship of person to person on the basis of who I am and who the man is. -157-158
In Philippians we are told: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (2:5). Christ’s crucifixion was on a hill, by a road, where everybody who passed by could not only see his pain, but also his shame. It was not done in a shadow, hidden away somewhere. – 159
In two areas above all others the Christian demonstration of love and communication stands clear: in the area of the Christian couple and their children; and in the personal relationships of Christians in the church. If there is no demonstration in these two places, on the personal level, the world can conclude that orthodox Christian doctrine is nothing but dead, cold words. – 160
ON MODERN DIVORCE
Modern multiple divorce is rooted in the fact that many are seeking in human relationships what human relationships can never give. Why do they have multiple divorce, instead of merely promiscuous affairs? Because they are seeking more than merely sexual relationship. – 161
CHRISTIANITY IS FUN
I hesitate to add, but I will, that this is fun. God means Christianity to be fun. There is to be a reality of love and communication in the Christian-to-Christian relationship, individually and corporately, which is completely and truly personal. – 164
ON THE SUPERNATURAL NATURE OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
Thus the Church’s or Christian group’s methods are as important as its message. It is to deal consciously with the reality of the supernatural. Anything that exhibits unfaith is a mistake, or may even be corporate sin. The liberal theologians get rid of the supernatural in their teaching, but the unfaith of the evangelical can in practice get rid of the supernatural. May I put it like this? If I woke up tomorrow morning and found that all that the Bible teaches concerning prayer and the Holy Spirit was removed (not as a liberal would remove it, by misinterpretation, but really removed) what difference would it make in practice from the way we are functioning today? The simple tragic fact is that in much of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ – the evangelical Church – there would be no difference whatsoever. We function as though the supernatural were not there. – 171
So our building of the visible Church becomes much like any natural business function, using natural means and natural motives. – 173