Real and Relational Intimacy


I have written other similar topics about this:

The Gospel is…
We are more sinful and weak than we ever dared to admit and…
We are more loved and accepted than we ever dared to hope.

Martin Luther lived a life of attempted Holiness as a Monk. He worked at trying to be the best man of God he could. However, he always disapointed himself in falling short of the yardstick scripture asked of him. His mountain top experience came when he read Romans 1:17 “For in the Gospel a righteousness is revealed and it is a righteousness that is by faith [In Christ] from first to last”. For the first time Martin Luther had a joy in serving God as he realized this righteousness is something freely given to him by what happened on the Cross. Basically, He found an intimacy with God through Christ. He now was able to serve God in  joy and happiness rather than in fear of his shortcomings and insecurities.

This intimacy the Gospel gives us has implications in both our vertical relationship with God and in our horizontal relationships with other men. The focus of this discussion is the implications the Gospel has with other people.

“Without the gospel, your self-image is based upon living up to some standards–whether yours or someone’s imposed upon you. If you live up to those standards, you will be confident but not humble. If you don’t live up to them, you will be humble but not confident. Only in the gospel can you be both enormously bold and utterly sensitive and humble. For you are both perfect and a sinner!” — Quote from Tim Keller. Without the Gospel message deeper intimacy with God and others is impossible as we look at life and scripture in our own idolatrous way of getting life.

The gospel gives you psychological freedom to handle the wrong things that you will do. You won’t have to deny, spin, or repress the truth about yourself. Only with the support of hearing Jesus say, “You are capable of terrible things, but I am absolutely, unconditionally committed to you,” will you be able to be honest with yourself.

If we have lived a life based on the “externals” where performance and morality are the number one focus in your life then you are living a life of shallow intimacy. On the other hand, if you have lived a life of sharing your deeper emotions and vulnerabilities then you can begin the path to greater intimacy in your life. “Real” obedience is only possible with deeper intimacy and “real” gospel repentance is only possible with this deeper intimacy.

Its my belief that a person that has sinned against a spouse or friend in a severe way has the opportunity to regain a greater intimacy than before the transgression took place if we can keep the Gospel message squarely in our sights. This is possible because now we have an opportunity to replace shallow, performance based intimacy with a deeper Gospel oriented intimacy. This idea very easy to say but very hard to do in practicality. Therefore we need to continously re-remind each other of the Gospel message to keep this kind of thinkology alive in our lives.

It also takes two sides having the same vision of the Gospel message to make this work in a marriage.

I do NOT see this as a romantic intimacy. I see this as a relational, emotional, spiritual, trust oriented intimacy that is much deeper than a Romantic intimacy.

With this type of deeper intimacy comes real trust as well. As people we tend to see trust as if you do this behavior then I trust and if you do that behavior then I distrust you. However, gospel trust, begins with an understanding that we are more sinful than we cared to ever admit. If we actually believe that then intimacy is really about sharing our emotional frailty as humans. if we can share this frailty on a deeply emotional level than we can develop a trust much deeper than the one based on performance and the right behavior. This vulnerable openness is the beginning of a “trust” relationship with God and the people around us. It is the starting point of our sanctification.

Nobody changes bad habits and addictive behavior  by trying.  What we need is an overmastering positive passion — thats what throws out fears.  What we need is expulsive replacement rejoicing of Jesus Christ and Gods plan for intimacy for us in the face of our idols.

In Christ,

3 thoughts on “Real and Relational Intimacy

  1. theoldadam

    Nice post, Jon.

    I would only change one thing (were it my own post).

    “If we have lived a life based on the “externals” where performance and morality are the number one focus in your life then you are living a life of shallow intimacy.”

    I would change the word “externals”…with the word “internals”.

    Just because I always refer to the externals as the things that come to us from outside of ourselves, such as the Word, and the Sacraments.

    Other than that, I think it was great!


    – Steve

  2. centralityofthegospel Post author

    Good point. I admittedly do discuss externalism…. and emphasis on moralism and obedience as I discuss how the Gospel impacts man into getting wooden with our sin and how it impacts and imprints the heart of man. God impacting the heart and man impacting and imprinting the world with a realism about who man really is. Sinful and saved because of the Gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ!

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