Galatians 4:6-7. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
At it’s core Christianity is about a relationship, one secured by our union with Christ. Our relationship with God can be a complex thing. Shepherd-sheep. Potter-clay. Master-slave. Friend-friend. Co-workers. These all describe unique ways that we relate to God. But the relationship introduced by Paul here in Galatians 4 is one that offers for us a perfectly simple love and security beyond the others. This relationship is Father-Son.
When as a child you threw a tantrum and yelled “I hate you!” to your parent, the truth is that nothing could change the reality that your dad is still your dad, and your mom is still your mom. That identity is unchanging, no matter what the behavior of the child.
And this relationship is unchanging. We speak of being “closer” and “farther” from God as if our relationship with him is varying. But God is closer to me than my own heart. I get it, we don’t always feel close to God. But what is changing is my own awareness of my relationship with him, not the actual relationship itself. Like the temper tantrum throwing little child who sees their dad’s love as burdensome, we too lose sight of his goodness and love, and ultimately his presence. And yet his presence never changes. God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts. We can never call God present or absent, near or far. By the Spirit we are constantly and consistently relating to our Abba.
The danger in saying that we have a “relationship” with God is that we project our human relationships onto it. We are constantly moving in and out of relationships. And so we see our relationship with God as “on again off again” like a boyfriend or girlfriend. Or most of us struggle with our relationship to our father. We talk about having a “good relationship” with our dad, or a “bad relationship” with our dad. We start to talk this way about God. “Do you have a good relationship with God?” we ask. As if the answer could be changing or even “no.” But the answer can’t be “no.” Why? Because God has chosen to adopt you and love you forever.
“To live is Christ” means that we have the unchanging, always secure Father-son relationship. God is committed to you forever. He will never be able to not be your dad. And he would never want to not be your dad. You have the love and security of the son-ship of Jesus himself. Do you believe this?