Monday, December 24, 2007

A Friend of God

Most of us value friendships. We look for friends who will provide many hours of comfort and companionship. They become partners in life, true comrades who are there to comfort, assist and guide.

Who is the greatest friend that you can have? While many have close friends that are of great value, God is the one friend that we should value above all. This thought is found in James 2:23:
And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." And he was called the friend of God.
Abraham is characterized as a “friend of God” because he trusted God throughout his life. His first desire is to be a friend with God. Abraham did this by placing his complete trust in God.

From the time God told Abraham to "get out of your country" (Genesis 12:1), he demonstrated a working faith throughout his 175 years on earth. God accounted Abraham's belief in His promises as righteousness (Genesis 15:6). The promise was that an heir would come from his body, even though he and Sarah were past childbearing years (Genesis 15:1-5; Hebrews 11:11-12).

Late in his life, Abraham's faith grew to the point where he "concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense" (Hebrews 11:17-22). His faith had matured to the point where he was ready to sacrifice Isaac, the son of the promise (Genesis 22:1-19).

When you look at the greater context of James 2:23, you see that being a friend with God involves a working faith. The writer argues in verses 14-26 that the Christian can only be demonstrate belief in God through good works. Without works, you have a dead faith, says James.

Scripture definitely makes the connection between friendship and placing your complete trust in God. This is a friendship that believes God and trusts Him to fulfill His promises. Like those recorded in the great "hall of faith" in Hebrews 11, a friend of God is one who "diligently seeks Him" (Hebrews 11:6) through a "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1).

Like Abraham, we should value a friendship with God. I'm sure that he enjoyed many hours of companionship with his wife Sarah, Lot and those of his household. But the one lasting friend that Abraham valued was the one with God. After all, it's God who said, "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward" (Genesis 15:1b).

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