For the last few years the subject of intimacy has been widely discussed within the church. With different branches of persuasion, and trains of thought along its lines. But with any subject discussed in scripture, the best way to approach it is to find it’s starting point. To establish a foundation concerning its function and purpose.
Intimacy is arguably the most important facet of man’s relation to God that was lost in the garden of Eden (Genesis 3:8). And the cause of loss on that day remains to be the greatest hindrance to intimacy with God that is experienced today. Sin. The Apostle John put it this way: “For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, If our heart does not condemn us, then we have confidence toward God.” (1 John 3:20-21).
Notice that in Genesis 3:8 it was Adam and Eve that hid from The Lord. It was God that came searching for them. Was God unaware of their offense? Was He ignorant of the gravity of their choice to defy Him? Certainly not. John said “God is greater than our hearts, and KNOWS all things.” As you trace the story of Adam and his lineage, you’ll see that, though the dynamics of man’s interaction with God changed drastically, God’s communing with man continued, albeit to an undesirably imperfect degree as far as He was concerned. How do we know that? Because just before God ejected man from the garden, He communicated His plan for redemption, saying to the serpent “I will put enmity between you and the woman. Between your seed, and hers. And He (Jesus) shall crush your head, but you shall only bruise His heel.”
Even at the moment of the fall, God had already devised a plan to restore man into His presence, and back to intimacy. This is communicated to us over and over again in the Gospels. In fact, every gospel but Mark majors on the relationship God has restored those who receive the gift of righteousness back to through Jesus’ sacrifice.
In Matthew, Jesus declares “If you, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give good gifts to them that ask?” (Matthew 7:11).
In Luke, Jesus exclaims “Fear not little flock! It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom!” (Luke 12:32)
In John, Jesus engages in prayer to the Father in the presence of His disciples, and He says “I in them, and You in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that You have sent Me; and have loved them, even as You have loved Me.” (John 17:23)
There are two undeniable threads that connect Genesis 3:8 with John 3:20-21. First is the application of God’s intention for intimacy, and defense of its persistence. John said “God is greater than our hearts.” It was His greatness that executed the plan of redemption. It’s His greatness that overcomes the sinking of our heart into the condemnation sin would try to shackle us with. Romans 5 tells us that though the offense of one man brought judgement upon all unto condemnation, but the righteousness of One Man, Jesus, brought the free gift upon all unto the justification of life (Romans 5:18). Adam’s sin resulted in ejection from the garden. But Jesus righteousness resulted in restoration into God’s presence. In the garden, that day, God set in motion the work of redemption that would culminate with our reconciliation through Jesus. But the completion of that work not only reconciled us to The Father; it also built for us a bridge of fellowship. One that bids us to come and commune with Him, to continually learn, by experience, the fullness of His goodness.
The second thread is confidence toward God. Adam and Eve had no redemptive bridge to restore them to the place of intimacy. But John tells us that when our heart does not condemn us, then our confidence is strong. Adam and Eve heard the promise of redemption. But we have experienced it. The condemnation of their heart drove them away from the call of The Father, but by the blood of Jesus, you and I can cross that bridge of reconciliation to answer His call. To come boldly before His throne of grace and receive mercy from His presence, and the sufficiency of His grace to walk free of condemnation.