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"'Intimacy' is a word that can make you wince.  It is used in sentimental settings, and it is sometimes deployed to describe relationships that are unworthy of the word.  But it actually means something important.  Intimacy is when I know somebody else as they really are.  It is when I know someone inwardly and not just outwardly.

Christ was uninterested, for example, in human beings from the outside in.  He was only interested in people from the inside out.  He pulled away from people who looked like 'whitewashed tombs' but whose insides were filled with 'the bones of the dead' (Matthew 23:27).  Intimacy is the opposite of a whitewashed tomb.  It is seeing into the core of a person while not being repelled by what you see."

Paul F. M. Zahl, Grace in Practice: A Theology of Everyday Life (Grand Rapids, 2007), page 139.


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Ray Ortlund


Ray Ortlund is senior pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and serves as a Council member with The Gospel Coalition. You can follow him on Twitter.

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