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Intimacy with God

Intimacy with God

Words of Faith 5-31-19

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2019

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Galatians 4:1-7

       [1] What I am saying is that as long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. [2] He is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. [3] So also, when we were children, we were in slavery under the basic principles of the world. [4] But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, [5] to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. [6] Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father." [7] So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.


      Paul sought to make all this plain by using an example that was common in the ancient world, even if a bit different from our own experience.  In Roman culture, a child was no different from a slave even though he was the heir to the family estate. 

      As a child, a boy was under the full charge of a tutor assigned as guardian.  This tutor was a slave charged with teaching culture and responsibility with a hard hand. It was only later that the child became an inheriting adult at a time that was set by the father.  So it was in our history with God.

      We were once children under the tutorship of the Law until the time that was set by the Father.  At that time, God sent His Son to redeem us and give us the full rights of inheritance.  It makes absolutely no sense to go back under the tutorship of the Law. This was plain to the people Paul wrote to.

       But there was more to this whole thing.  As an heir and a "son of God," we have intimacy with God. That is the benefit of sonship.  The language is male in gender here because of the ancient culture, but the application is to all regardless of gender (3:28).  A "son of God" is anyone who learns to call God Abba because God has given His Spirit to His children.

        We have another cultural clue here. Calling God “Abba” is the most intimate language of the family in the Jewish world. This was the first endearment a Jewish child learned along with imma, "mommy."  It can be translated "daddy," but there is more to it than the language of a child.

       The father, the Abba in Judaism, was also a commanding authority figure for the Jewish family, and children were taught never to disagree with and always to honor him. Thus, the term Abba is not just the language of little children with their loving fathers playing games and talking sweet things.  This was a term that Jews used for their relationship to their fathers that involved both relational intimacy and honorable respect.

        As a "son of God," one relates to God both with love and with respect. We develop intimacy with God through prayer that explores God's relationship to us and our relationship to God.  We discover prayer that is trusting and vulnerable to God's promise and sure word.  We engage in prayer that is designed to live before God obediently and lovingly.

         We develop intimacy with God through a lifestyle that practices consistent conversation with God as each day progresses. Instead of frittering our time away with thoughts of fleeting things as we drive the car or wash the dishes or go for walks, we can spend our time in those activities talking to God and listening to Him speak to us as His children. We can pray and learn to know God.

         We develop intimacy with God by reading his Word, believing it, obeying it, and sharing it with others. But mostly, we learn to be intimate with God by trusting in Him and learning through that trust that He is loving and good.

         God desires that we desire Him. In that desire, He is delighted, and we become delighted in His delight. Loving God's delight is what intimacy is all about, and that is what it means to be a son of God.  That is who we are as children of God.

       Legalists are led by the law. Hedonists are led by their desires. Materialists are led by their possessions. But children of God, believers in Christ, are led by the Spirit. What prompts their actions, stirs their emotions, guides their behavior, and determines their direction is God's Spirit.  Children of God do not fear and worry about where the Spirit will lead them. They know that God's Spirit will lead them perfectly into God's will. They know that with God's blessing, they walk with confidence and joy.

        So are you a "son of God?" Are you a child of God who is intimate with God? Are you free from the curse of the Law, and are you led by God's Spirit? You can become a child of God by faith. "You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus."


        Father, I have been led and tutored long enough by Law.  I desire to receive "sonship" and inheritance in Your family as a child.  I want to seek deeper intimacy with You than ever before.  I will not go back.  I will not go back under Law.  I am Yours in Your grace.  In Jesus' Name.


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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, and our website, and our church app, excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.  

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