He never gives up, does he? Year after year God patiently works with us so we’re gradually being “conformed to the likeness of his Son,” Romans 8:29, and bit by bit we’re “being transformed into Jesus’ likeness with ever-increasing glory,” 2 Corinthians 3:18.
That being the case, I wondered what likeness and increasing glory I wish I could experience most. And one thing stood out: the relationship that Jesus has with the Father as his Son. With the added thought that, since it’s Jesus’ likeness we’re being conformed to and transformed into, then it must be possible for us to experience that relationship too.
And, fortunately, Jesus not only said it was possible, he also explained how it was possible – and that he very much wants to make it possible too “so that the Son may bring glory to the Father,” John 14:13. Everything in Jesus’ life is motivated by that. It’s his great wish, therefore, that we come to that same point too, that we see the Father like he does, and love the Father like he does.
Which explains why Jesus asked the Father to give us the Holy Spirit (verse 16), because the Spirit “with” and “in” us (verse 17) helps us “learn that I (Jesus) love the Father” (verse 31). It’s the Spirit’s job, then, to get the point across that Jesus has one main goal in all that he does, and that’s to bring glory to his Father because he loves him. But then we find out from Jesus in John 16:15 that the Spirit “takes from what is mine and makes it known to you.” So the Spirit’s job also entails making what motivates Jesus “known” and very real in our lives too.
Which sets the scene very nicely for the extraordinary statement Paul makes in Romans 8:14 that “those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” So the Spirit makes it real all right, by helping us understand that our relationship with God is exactly the same as the relationship Jesus has with his Father, because like Jesus we are the Father’s children too. So it’s through the Spirit, therefore, that Jesus is making it possible for us to love the Father like he does.
Which Paul confirms in verse 16 when he writes “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” For the Spirit, then, this is personal. He personally (“himself”) goes to work in us so we too can love the Father like Jesus does. He “testifies” to it, meaning he’ll prove it true all right.
Ahead of us, then, is another year of the Spirit enabling us to love the Father like Jesus does. And for the same reason too, that we experience the same glory the Father gave Jesus, of being one as they are one (John 17:22).