Love GROWS, LOVE FLOWS
by Jack Fynch
In this month of Valentines, we often think of intimate relationships we have with others. Intimacy in the sense that our society defines it is one thing, but intimacy in the biblical sense is another.
Biblical intimacy has two directions. It is, first of all, vertical. Intimacy grows out of a relationship of love. The Bible teaches us that we are made in God’s image, and that God is love. Thus, God first loved us, and because of this, we are able to love Him (the vertical direction). The second direction is our ability to love others (the horizontal direction).
This is perhaps best expressed in 1 John 4:10-11: “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
Here we see both the vertical and the horizontal — God loving us, and us loving one another. The love here expressed is sacrificial in nature. It means doing something good that benefits another, not oneself. Sacrificial love is the foundation for all other concepts in the biblical “love family,” including intimacy.
The above passage expresses God the Father’s love for His creatures through His Son’s death for our sins, and this makes possible our response of love toward God through faith. It is an intimate, personal and spiritual relationship of love with God that is begun at that moment.
Apart from that unique relationship to God (spiritual rebirth), there can be no biblical, spiritual relationship to God and therefore, no biblical, spiritual intimacy with another. First comes the intimate, spiritual relationship with God. That can then be shared with another who is spiritually related to God.
As for the intimate and spiritual relationship that a husband and wife may have in Christ Jesus … it is like nothing else this world can offer.