I wish to encourage you to enjoy the friendship of Christ. While it’s true that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son” (John 3:16), and that the Lord “is patient …not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9), this does not mean that friendship exists between God and the unbelieving world. Friendship with God is more than pleasant emotions or sentiments; it’s more than believing that God exists and that He leaves you alone to do whatever you want. James explains the relationship between the world and God; “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4). Passive association with God while remaining loyal to the world and participating in its sinful values and lifestyle, is not friendship with God.
The important issue is, “does God think of me as His friend”?
The Psalmist understood that, “The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him” (Psalms 25:14). Jesus built upon this by teaching His disciples, “You are my friends if you do what I command you” (John 15:14).
Jesus, being creator God (Hebrews 1:10), was entitled to call His disciples slaves. Yet, He opens His heart to these ordinary men by identifying them as His friends. He reminds them that they “did not choose” Him, but He chose them (John 15:16), and that “already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you” (John 15:3). “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15). Only hours before His crucifixion, Jesus defines the nature of His relationship with His disciples; “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love” (John 15:9). “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
The friendship of God that we enter into through faith in Jesus Christ is cleansing because of His Word, its secure because of His trustworthy sovereignty, it’s intimate because the Father’s love for His Son is passed on to us. The friendship of Jesus Christ is initiated by Him, it’s made possible through Him laying down His life on the cross of Calvary for our redemption (Colossians 1:4). We rejoice because Christ “became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:30-31). In this unimaginable friendship, Jesus says, you “abide in me, and I in you” (John 15:4).
Indeed, we are privileged beyond human imagination, expectation, or design. Therefore, we boast of Christ! He has achieved everything we could not. He maintains everything we cannot. He determines everything we are powerless to control. He strengthens and secures everything we weaken. He establishes everything we have yet to experience. He manifests the Father’s love in us even while we struggle with our unloveliness, vulnerabilities, and failings. He also assures us with the certain hope of eternal life in His presence. Yes, we richly abide in Christ.
I encourage you to allow the Holy Spirit to envelope your soul with the joy of this divine friendship. Praise the Lord continuously today because of the breath-taking beauties of this heavenly friendship. Find someone you can uplift with the wonder and grace of this merciful friendship. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13).
Together For Christ: Lincoln Forlong www.bbf.net.nz
“Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”