By Pastor Alex Rockwell
Abraham is described in the New Testament book of James as “the friend of God.” Someone who has encountered the “Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man” theory, may ask, “Aren’t we all God’s friends?” According to the Bible, we are not. Why are we not all God’s friends? Isaiah, speaking for all mankind, was inspired to write, “…your iniquities have separated you from your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you.”
In order to be God’s friend, we would need to be in a proper relationship with Him, and that cannot happen unless the obstacle between us has been removed. That obstacle is sin. God’s inspired Word, the Bible, clearly tells us that “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” To deny such a self-evident truth is to be naive, deceived, intentionally ignorant or dishonest. We are not all God’s friends because nobody is God’s friend by nature. In the Bible, people are referred to as “natural” or” earthly” if they are not in a proper relationship with God. Paul the Apostle was inspired to write, “… the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them because they are spiritually discerned (understood.)”
The Bible describes our natural condition before we come into a personal relationship with Christ. “And you, He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins. In which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air (Satan) the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh (our sinful tendency) and were by nature the children of wrath just as the others.”
God tells us we need to repent- have a change of heart. That is because, except for Christ, every single person ever born into this world is born with a sinful nature. Jeremiah, an Old Testament prophet was inspired to write, “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked…” And Jesus told a religious man, Nicodemus, “…Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Later He added, “Do not marvel that I said to you, you must be born again. “
Paul wrote about it with these words, “If anyone is in Christ, He is a new creation. Old things have passed away, behold all things have become new.” This experience is described in several ways in the Bible, such as “converted,” “saved” and “born again.” All refer to the change of heart which we all need.
Thankfully, even in our lost condition, God loves us. In Ephesians, after describing our spiritual condition as those deserving His wrath, we are told, “….at that time you were without Christ, ….having no hope and without God in the world.” He clarified this elsewhere, writing “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
What happens when a person becomes God’s friend? Many wonderful things take place. We become the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. The book of Corinthians tells us, “your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God…” In addition, we become the sons and daughters of God. John was inspired to inform us, “as many as received Him, to them He gave the aright to become children of God, to those who believe in His name…” And perhaps best of all, when we become God’s friends, we receive a wonderful gift. Though “the wages of sin is death, “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
How do we become God’s friend? First, by acknowledging our need. We are spiritually lost because each of us is a sinner, by nature and by choice. “There is none righteous, no not one.” Second by facing the fact that we are unable to become Christians, (His friends) on our own. “By grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, lest anyone should boast.” Paul’s words about Abraham’s friendship with God are clear. “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Later he added, “David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works…” Third, by calling out to God for His mercy and forgiveness. “Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
It is time for each of us to ask the question, “Am I a friend of God?” In this world of uncertainty and fear, let’s make sure we are.