I grew up a Christian, came to Christ as a very young child; it was real. By time I got out of high school I had become very lukewarm (not realizing I had, of course). The Lord, through some extremely difficult and prolonged circumstances got a hold of me and brought me to the point where I knew my reality was either going to have to be Him, or insanity. I chose life, not death. From that point on I came to habitually inhabit Holy Scripture; read through it non-stop, memorize it, meditate on it. Then I went to school and was formally trained in biblical studies and theology; I learned of philosophical, metaphysical, and grammatical approaches to think God—some of these ways having greater value than others, some having almost no value at all. But the Lord always kept me close to Him, and He did that through this sort of relational and experiential reading of His Word. No matter how prominent these other ways have attempted to rise up, and habituate me in their ways of thinking God, I have always come back to this personal-relational understanding of God; and as that comes through afresh and anew in encounter with His face in Jesus Christ as realized by meditation upon Scripture.
I am sure there are many people out there who have a vibrant relationship with Christ who are also enslaved to highly metaphysical ways for attempting to think God, but I typically fail to see the evidence of that. When they talk about God I don’t recognize the God they are talking about. When they work out the minutiae and ‘angels on a pinhead’ in relation to the inner-workings of God, I do not recognize that as a discussion of the God that I know. I didn’t commit myself to a God who is a math problem, a Gordian Knot, or a quantum algorithm; I committed myself to a God who has a face, and His name is, Jesus Christ! This might sound all so melodramatic to the metaphysicians, but I assure you: it is not! I do understand the theo-metaphysicians fear; that is, they might fear that the God I know might be sublated to my experiences, to our collective experiences—thus falling prey to the Schleiermacherean collapse to the subject, turning theology into anthropology. But I am not talking about that when I refer to experience. I am referring to the fact that I am a constant sinner, who also is now justified (the simul). The God I am referring to confronts humanity, by assuming our humanity, and invites us into a participatory relationship with Him through Christ. The God I am referring to desires fellowship with us, and He has made the way for that to happen through the sending of His sin into the ‘far country’ of our fallen humanity, and raising us up with Him in the new creation of His resurrected humanity. The God I am referring to is all about being in union with us, that we might be in union with Him; this is a personal God, who does what He does because in His inner life is triune and eternal love. This isn’t a God who is accessible to metaphysicians or philosophers; they might talk about some pure being or monad, but that has zero correlation with the God who calls us sons and daughters.
Mark Mattes, a Lutheran theologian, makes these points crystal clear as he describes some of these very themes in Martin Luther’s theology:
The doctrine of justification bears on how God’s goodness is to be understood. Unlike his contemporaries and forebears, Luther has no confidence in either metaphysics or mysticism to establish God’s goodness, in spite of the fact that both approaches influenced his theological development. Luther’s is a highly experiential theology—not that experience is a criterion for truth but that sinners can never detach emotionally when doing theology, and at some point in their lives all sinners will do theology.
Luther was vitally concerned to address the question of God’s goodness. It bears on salvation. His point was that people do not need merely an incentive and an example to be good. They need in fact to be made good from the core of their being, their hearts. Counterintuitively, God does this by granting sinners his favor and promising them new, eternal life in Christ. As believers’ status with respect to God is changed, so is their identity. The law accuses old beings who seek to be their own gods for themselves and so control their lots and the lots of others to death. Humbled by the law, despairing of self, sinners can look to none other than Christ for salvation. In Christ they have a new identity and a new calling—to serve as Christ served in the world—and so to help especially those in need. The gospel promise unites believers with Christ, and Christ impels believers to serve their neighbors freely.
All this grounded in God’s own goodness. Outside of Christ, God is encountered as sheer power, a terror and threat to humans because such omnipotence jeopardizes sinners’ own quest for power, status, and authority. But Luther admonishes sinners not to neutralize this power by harmonizing it with some modicum of human power, such as establishing a free will. Instead, only God has a free will (though humans indeed make choices with respect to temporal matters). If we are to see the content or center of God and find him as good, then se must cling to the gospel alone. It establishes God as wholly love and goodness, indeed overflowing generosity, and serves as a basis from which to affirm life and explore mystery in the world. Goodness can no longer be established as a transcendental through metaphysics. Instead, goodness as a proper name for God and as a means by which every creature can participate in God is established only on the basis of how God acts in Christ, and that is to reconcile, redeem, and renew. Insofar as beauty is tied to goodness, it too will only be established through the gospel and not through metaphysics.
We can see how Matte’s conception of Luther was to think God in purely concrete and relational terms; and this, because Luther was so beat down by his personal sense of sinfulness juxtaposed with a sense of God’s grandeur and holiness. When Luther had his break through of a solafidian, it transformed his whole understanding of just who this God is for him; indeed, he finally realized that God was for him in Christ, and not against him as the theo-metaphysicians had drowned him with. Luther was groomed in a theological world where the conception of God was one that took shape under the specter of Aristotle’s categories. Once he realized that Aristotle’s god was not commensurate with the God he encountered in the New Testament, Jesus Christ, he was able to chart out contra mundum. As Heiko Oberman called Luther, he was now a man between God and the devil. This is what happens when are able to push off the god of the mathematicians and metaphysicians; we are able to realize that God is purely interested in having an ongoing and personal fellowship with each and every one of us. You realize that you are free to press on for that upward call, and live a poured-out life for and from God, and thus for others. This is where the power of God is realized in the Christian’s life. This is why Luther began to be a ‘man between God and the devil,’ a theologian who had epic almost hand-to-hand combat with the devil himself.
This has been my experience too. As I dug into the Bible years and years ago now, I came to encounter this God of Luther’s. I have experienced heavy spiritual warfare, not typically when attempting to think God along with the metaphysicians, but when attempting to proclaim this God who desires to have fellowship with all who will. None of this is to say that God isn’t high and transcendent; it is just to say that to confuse what the metaphysicians are talking about with that doctrine is rubbish. God’s transcendence comes down for us, before it goes up. God’s life is independent and extra from ours, but He has freely chosen, as revealed in the incarnation, to not be God without us. So, for us, to think God’s transcendence we always must think it from who God has revealed Himself to be, not who we speculate Him to be from our own resources and powers. God resists the philosopher’s machinations, and is only and always known by the sinners.
 Mark C. Mattes, Martin Luther’s Theology of Beauty (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2017), 54.
 Ibid., 66-7. [emboldening mine]