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Jesus’ life demonstrated an intimate union with the Father in all he did and said. He explains to his disciples this intimacy with the Father when he says, “I and the Father are one.” (Jn 10:30) By the way, at hearing this statement, the religious rulers of Israel picked up stones to stone him. We don’t want to hear about intimacy with the Father; nothing requires more immediate and severe death to self than intimacy with the Holy Father.

Later Jesus’ disciple Philip asks him, “Show us the Father.” Jesus responds as follows,

“Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.” (John 14:9-11)

His union with the Father allows Jesus to assert this truth, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing.” (John 5:19-20)

This doesn’t automatically happen for Jesus. His union with the Father flows from a disciplined prayer life that is his first priority. Jesus dismisses crowds and disciples in order to spend time with the Father. He arises early or stays up late to establish the intimate society of his Father. He shows the healthy discipline of a child of God turning aside from culture and community for a time to experience the one-on-one intimacy of God. This discipline is a mandatory habit for Christians who want intimacy with the Father. It requires a singular focus on the Lord, as he reveals himself by his word and his Spirit. Jesus develops the relationship in private and maintains the closeness in public.

During times of our intimacy with God, we can experience the love of the Father through Jesus Christ by the presence of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit draws the believer into the Father’s presence where Jesus lives at his right hand. From this position, we hear God speak words of life, truth, healing, encouragement and love to us. We hear the Father whisper our name. This is the posture in which we taste the hidden manna and drink in the water of life. It is from this posture of intimacy that we take hold of the Father’s hand and walk out into the crowd of the world assured of the Father’s love and grip. This grip of the Father’s hand inspires us not only to walk in joy but to walk in love for God and for others. During times of intimacy with the Father, we can sense the love of God being poured into our heart by the Holy Spirit. (Romans 5.5)

Intimacy with the Father comes through Jesus and only through Jesus—the Way, the Truth and the Life. (John 14.6) In the gospels, we see accounts of intimacy between disciples and Jesus. These historical events serve as instructive illustrations for how we enter into intimacy with the triune God.

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God does not just put up with people as if he must begrudgingly clean up his mess and fix his mistakes or merely make do with what he’s got. God the Father, acting as parent, actually wills to give new birth to humans from himself by his own heavenly womb through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

Through the Holy Spirit’s conception of Jesus Christ in Mary and Jesus’ death and resurrection for us, we are able to be conceived and born again by God from above as his children and citizens of his kingdom.

Jesus tells us that we must be born again from God, “’Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.’” (John 3.3) How and where are we born again?

In the same conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus emphasizes that we are born again from the Holy Spirit. We must be born of the Spirit. Being born of the Spirit is being born in God’s kingdom having eternal life from Him, in Him and with Him forever.

God does not give birth to us reluctantly, and he does not give birth to spiritual children who will be neglected, abused or punished. God gave Jesus to sinners, because he wants them to be born again and have eternal life. John writes in the first chapter of his gospel, “To all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13)

God wills for people to be born again through Jesus. God, the perfect and loving heavenly Father, decides, determines and works for people to be born again as his own. God really wants you to be his son or daughter. God not only gives birth to you, He will raise you and care for you now and eternally as a Father who is good beyond our imagination.

He even gives us his Holy Spirit to live in us and assure that we have been reconciled to him as a child with his or her Father. The Apostle Paul writes, “You have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” (Romans 8:15-16)

The Holy Spirit works in the world to lead sinners to become born again, and when we are born again, he works to assure us that we are God’s children. We are adopted and beloved by the Father in Jesus Christ solely because of his grace and love. Once his, God also works to conform us to the image of Jesus.

If God has loved us so much to give new birth to us into eternal life, won’t he surely reveal himself to us as a loving Father during our lives? Jesus rebuked his disciples for preventing parents from bringing their little children to him to bless them. Mark writes, “But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.’” (Mark 10.14) If Jesus demonstrates his desire to bless children this way, will not God the Father strive to bless his own children born of his will even more earnestly?

When the angel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah and gave him the message that his wife Elizabeth would give birth to a son, John (who became the Baptizer), the angel referenced the prophecy of Malachi to indicate the work of God that would occur through John. Gabriel said that John would be great before the Lord and filled with the Holy Spirit, and he would go before the Messiah in power to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children. (Luke 1:15-17) If the work of God through his prophets and Spirit is to turn the hearts of fathers to their children, how much more will his own heart be turned in Fatherhood to his own beloved children born of his will? He will pour out his heart and love to those who belong to him. He will be the perfect Father to us throughout our lives, as we mature from spiritual infants to adulthood.

The Roman Catholic priest Father Raniero Cantalamessa describes the joy of a child who lives assured of his father’s love. He writes, “If a child is certain that his father loves him, he will grow up sure of himself and able to face life. A child out walking holding his father’s hand or being swung around by his father with exclamations of joy or who talks to his father as man to man is the happiest and freest creature in the world.”

This image describes those people born again and living in the assurance of their heavenly father’s love and presence in their lives. This is the posture we will have towards life in the new earth and heavens. This is life of a child in the kingdom of heaven. This is the life God gives us in our relationship with Him—The Father, Son and Holy Spirit.