I’m sure many people are familiar with the Myers-Briggs personality type indicator. A similar personality analysis can be done using three biblical criteria for profiling people. These criteria are:
- Salvation by faith in Christ alone
- Obedience (living according to God’s law)
People can possess any combination of these three criteria and we are only complete as created human beings when we possess all three.
Salvation is by God’s grace through faith alone in the completed work of Christ on the cross. Nothing can be added or taken away from what Christ has done to turn away God’s wrath from sinners.
God’s Law is a blessing to those who meditate on it and make it their delight (Psalm 1:1-2). The law instructs people on how we should and should not live and draws people to Christ as Saviour when we fail to match its requirements.
Wisdom is the God given ability (common grace) to receive, discern and understand the structure, order and purpose of God’s world and to act appropriately in within it.
Now, the types of people who occupy each section of the venn diagram.
1. Saved by faith – the immature Christian. This sort of person has got saved out of a messy background. Loads of faith in Christ and yet no conscious obedience to the law or wisdom. The bible describes people like this, they were called the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 5:1).
2. Then there’s the legalists. Cold, formal, godless moralists or depressed, miserable moral failures. This sort of person is either like the self-righteous brothers on Harry Enfield…”then I said NO!” Holier than thou. Or is overwhelmed by their own inability to live up to God’s standards.
3. Capable hedonists are generally wise, they are socially well adjusted, get on well with people but have no idea about Christ and little desire to obey God’s law. They do well at work, have a good social network are respectable and well behaved when necessary but blow out at weekends.
4. Moving in to the overlapping sections of the diagram, cross salvation with the law and you get fundamentalists. They’ve got salvation and the law but no wisdom. Soap box fire and brimstone preachers and monks come to mind, but they can be more subtly disengaged from the world by being immersed in Christian sub-culture.
5. Then there’s salvation (or talk of it) and wisdom and you have the liberal. Christians who think deeply about the way the world works but are uncomfortable talking about the law, especially when it comes to sex.
6. The wise moralist is the person you’d want as a good neighbour. Easy to get along with and who would never dream of doing anything to upset his neighbours. No loud music at night or bonfires when you’ve got your washing out. The sort of person who’d run a neighbourhood watch scheme and everyone would feel safe. But God and Christ are no-where on the radar screen.
7. Then, last of all, the complete person, saved by faith in Christ alone. They are sorted with God and look forward to eternity. They know the law and seek to live it to the best of their ability. And, as they are soaked in God’s wisdom, they relate well to everyone they meet.
8. There’s one person missing. The fool. No fear of God, no wisdom and no law. A dangerous nuisance in society.
All types of people in the blue circle and possibly the orange circle will be members of church. Tracing my life I have moved from 3 (capable hedonist) to 1 (immature Christian). I then with good teaching I grew towards 7 (complete person) until sometime in Asia I was diverted to a mixed 4 (neonomian) where salvation and law got confused. I’ve managed to separate the two and am beginning to get wisdom so, by grace, should be moving toward 7 again, though I know I’ll never be complete this side of glory. As a minister, the question is, how should God’s word be ministered and applied to each personality type?
For more posts like this see Transforming Grace Venn diagram posts