Even before God created the world his purpose for us was adoption. And when the set time was fully come God acted to fulfil his purpose by sending his Son. (Galatians 4.4-5). The Father and Son enjoyed love relationship with one another before they made the world. Out of this love relationship, the Father sent his Son into the world as human. He sent him so that we might be adopted as sons (the term sons includes daughters). Jesus is the Father’s unique Son and we become sons and daughters because of our union with The Son.
Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father (Galatians 4: 6). The Son was sent into the world to make us sons. Now the Spirit of that same Son is sent into our hearts crying Abba Father. Abba is the Aramaic word for Father. While God’s Son was on earth, he addressed God as Abba (Mark 14:36). And now, through the Spirit of God’s Son, the Son’s own Abba Father cries out within us as we share in the Son’s relationship with Abba. In heaven, Jesus speaks his own Abba before the Father and his Abba is echoed in us through the Spirit of the Son within us.
Paul is speaking here about sharing in the Son’s love relationship with Abba Father together. All the pronouns are plural. We are Sons and daughters communally. And so, we cry Abba Father together. As the Son relates in love to the Father, we are all caught up in this together in the Spirit.
In the Jesus story we see the dearly loved Son relating to his Father in love. He was constantly responding to his Father in love as he overflowed in the joy of the Spirit. We would do well to constantly pay attention to all this. However, God wants us to move from being mere spectators of the triune communion to being participators. The communal God wants to include us within the communion. The three don’t want to keep the love relationship to themselves they want to include us.
We sometimes speak about receiving Christ into our lives. But God’s purpose is that the Father’s Son might receive us into his life. Within his life, we are adopted sons and daughters sharing in his love relationship with the Father in the Spirit.
If we want to understand who we are and why we are here, then we must begin with the relationship of Father and Son in the Spirit. This relationship holds the answer to the “why” of creation, the “why” of your life and mine. The Father, Son and Spirit created the human race to share what they have together with us. They brought us into existence so that we might share in the Son’s love relationship with the Father in the Spirit. The one purpose arising out of the triune communion, before time, is our adoption into the Son’s relationship with the Father.
The Triune God is a communal being. This relational God has never been alone and turned in on himself. He has always been a communion of three persons mutually indwelling one another in love. Within this communion of three persons, there is a single purpose for us arising out of the communal life of the three. And the three persons are always together in achieving this single purpose.
What is this purpose shared by the three? We might say what the purpose is in a single word – inclusion. As an expression of overflowing joy within the communion the three want to open up their life to include us. The three want to open the circle and bring us in so that we actually participate in their shared life and love.
We can also say what the single purpose is in another word -adoption. Paul tells us that before God made the world he destined us for adoption (Ephesians 1:5). The NLT puts it this way, “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure”.
Humanity chose to reject God’s purpose and go the way of independence. We wanted to live our own way apart from God. But the Triune communion did not give up on the eternal purpose of adoption. Together the three said we love them so much that we refuse to exist without them. We are determined to go after them and bring them into the communion.
Jesus has opened up a new and living way into God’s holy presence, but will we enjoy the access? Not by our own efforts. We need the Holy Spirit to take us into God’s presence personally. Through Jesus, the Spirit brings us to the Father witnessing with our spirit that we really are the children of God. Through this inner witness, we have the assurance to enter right into the Father’s presence crying abba Father.
Paul says, through Jesus by the Spirit we BOTH have access to the Father (Ephesians 2:18). He seems to be speaking about both Jew and Gentile as one community.
God has always been a communion of joyful love. And we are privileged to participate together in this fellowship as one community living in the Spirit.
Thomas Torrance says, “God has opened himself to us in such a way that we may know him in the inner relations of his divine Being and have communion with him in his divine Life as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” And again, “God has established an intimate two-way relation between himself and us and us and himself, making himself accessible to us and giving us entry into the inner fellowship of God’s life by allowing us to share in God’s own eternal Spirit.”
Let’s enjoy all that God has opened up to us as we enter his holy presence through Jesus as the new and living way in the Spirit.
“For through him, we both have access to the Father by one Spirit” (Eph. 2.18).
We have access to the Father as sons and daughters in union with the Son. The Father is relational. He always relates to his unique Son in joyful love. And he wants to relate to us in the same way. For Jesus said his Father loves us just as he loves his unique Son.
THROUGH HIM (Jesus) we have access to the Father. On the Day of Atonement, the high priest entered the most holy place as the representative of the people. Jesus, our high priest, has entered the Most Holy Place as our representative. As he presents himself before the Father, he presents us to the Father. He presents us in himself and with himself. He does so having offered himself as the once for all sacrifice for our sins. And so, through Jesus, access into the Father’s presence is opened wide for all of us. He enters for us and we enter with him. We don’t move into the Father’s presence in our own names and through our own merit, but always through Jesus our High Priest.
We have free and open access to enter with confidence through him. And we do so BY ONE SPIRIT. The exalted Jesus received from his Father the gift of the Spirit for us.
And he pours this Spirit on us and in us freely. Now we can draw near in the Spirit so that we do not know God from afar. In the communion of the Spirit, we may know God closely as he is in himself. He is a communion of loving relationship within himself and we are allowed to share in the fellowship as the Spirit brings us near.
Before the world was created, Father and Son were always together enjoying joyful communion in the Spirit. However, the Son was chosen to be God with us as one of us. And in obedience to his Father, he came among us in deep lowliness. He actually descended from his joyful communion with the Father into a world that is alienated from God. He came to bring back humanity from estrangement into communion with his Father.
Jesus accomplished his mission as the lowly servant who was obedient unto death. His obedience flowed from his deep love for the one he called Father. His life was a constant expression of worship as he offered himself freely to do the will of his Father. He came into the midst of a disordered, distorted, and divided world living faithfully towards his Father in obedience, thankfulness, praise, and adoration. His whole life was an offering of total devotion to his Father within a God-rejecting world.
All this came to its climax in his obedience unto death on the cross on which he offered himself freely as the sacrifice for sin on our behalf. This is the one who loved his Father and gave himself fully to his Father. This is the one who, in loving his Father, loved us and gave himself for us to restore communion with God. God created humans to enjoy communion with himself, and the Father’s Son came into a world in which communion was shattered to bring us back home. And now, in the Son, we share his relationship with the Father in the Spirit.
God is a person of beauty who delights in beauty and desires to see it everywhere. And he puts the desire for beauty in us so that we may delight in it too. Some may be willing to pay much in time or money or energy to see a stunning scene that takes their breath away. Others may visit art galleries to gaze at great works of art that touch something deep inside. It seems we were made to gaze on beauty that takes us out of ourselves and into splendour beyond ourselves.
In the Jesus’ story, we see the mutual love of Father and Son in the Spirit. As we gaze on this love relationship, we are contemplating sheer beauty. Indeed, we might say there nothing more beautiful for us to gaze on than the love expressed between Father and Son in the Spirit? Let’s not rush from it to see what it means for us practically. Let’s rather stay with it and stare at it to behold the beauty of the Lord himself.
King David once said, “One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple” (Psalm 27: 4). Now, in union with Jesus, we are God’s temple in the Spirit gazing on the beauty of Jesus. As we do so, we are transformed into his likeness with ever increasing glory. All this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
As we gaze on Jesus, we see the mutual love of Father and Son in the Spirit. In this constant self-giving of Father towards Son and Son towards Father, we get a glimpse of the deep bond of love within the triune life of God. They know one another with love’s own way of knowing and finding pleasure in one another. They are constantly with and for one another as they mutually indwell one another in joyful love.
We also see this bond of love in the way they work together. They always move into action together, working with each other. The work of the Son is always done for the Father. But it isn’t just done for the Father but also with the Father. The Father and Son are always together in what they do. We see this from two angles. From the side of the Son, The Son does only what he sees his Father doing (John 5:19). From the side of the Father, The Father loves the Son and shows him all he does (John 5: 20). And so they always move together as one in each and every action..
This Father and Son relation in love belongs to the innermost being of God. Yes, God is the dynamic communion of loving and being loved. And this love does not come from something outside God. For God IS beautiful self-giving love within himself as Father and Son in the Spirit. And his love for us is the overflowing of this fountain of love. So now we know for sure that God cannot stop loving us. He can no more cease to love us than he can cease to be God because he IS love.
The apostle John saw Jesus’ love for people as he constantly gave himself to others. He also saw Jesus’ love to the Father. He couldn’t miss that as Jesus was always turned towards his Father in loving relationship. In Jesus, John saw the man for God and the man for others even unto death on the cross in self-giving love. As John reflected on all he saw in this person he had to say, “God is love”.
John saw that God is love within himself. And that is what we see through John’s witness. We see the Father loving the Son in the Spirit and giving himself to the Son. The Father is always there for the Son making himself available to him. He is always expressing delight in his Son. And the Father is glad to put the spotlight on his Son as the one he wants to honour.
We also see the Son loving the Father in the Spirit and giving himself to the Father. The Son always looks to see what his Father is doing. He always listens to hear what his Father is saying to him. His face is always turned towards his Father in desire and delight. He is always actively serving his Father to advance his purpose in the world. He is turned towards his Father in these ways as his expression of love for the Father. Father and Son are always towards one another and for one another and with one another in mutual self-giving love. Truly, God IS love.
The Father’s Son united himself with us by becoming fully human. The Spirit of the Father’s Son joins us to the Son so that we are in him as he is in us. We are one with Christ and he is one with us. We are so deeply one with him that we are never to think of ourselves as isolated from him in any way. That means we won’t attempt to live out our own Christian life apart from Jesus. No! By his Spirit, Jesus now lives out his own life in and through us. So, we always say, I (as an individual) no longer live through my own self-effort, but Christ lives in me. He loved me and gave himself for me and now he loves me still and gives himself to me working in me all that is pleasing to his Father.
In our union with Jesus, we are not deified, as if our humanity were now mixed or intermingled with Christ’s deity. No, in union with the man Jesus, we remain fully human with our humanity lifted up into the life of God and filled with the life of God.
In union with Jesus, we are actually more authentically human because we become the humans that God intended all along. We become humans in union with THE human fully alive in God, with God, to God and for God. Yes, as we live in union with Jesus, by the Spirit, we really do become more authentically human.