August 18, 2018

Are you a friend of God?

Are you a friend of God?

Jesus, God in flesh, spoke these words to His disciples – “’You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.’” (John 15: 14-16)

Abraham was known as God’s “friend.” The Lord said to Abraham – “’Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’” (Gen. 12: 1-3) Abraham did what God told him to do. Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, but his nephew Lot dwelt in the cities; particularly in Sodom. Lot was taken captive and Abraham went and rescued him. (Gen. 14: 12-16) “After these things” the word of the Lord came to Abraham in a vision, and God said to him – “’I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.’” (Gen. 15: 1) When Abraham was 99 years old the Lord appeared to him and said – “’I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.’” (Gen. 17: 1-2) Before God judged Sodom for its sins, he came to Abraham and said to him – “’Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing, since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they may keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.’” Abraham then interceded on behalf of Sodom and Gomorrah – “’Indeed now, I who am but dust and ashes have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord.’” (Gen. 18: 27) God heard Abraham’s plea – “And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in which Lot had dwelt.” (Gen. 19: 29)

What distinguishes Christianity from every other religion in the world is that it establishes an intimate rewarding relationship between God and man. The amazing message of the gospel or “good news,” is that everyone is born under both a spiritual and physical death sentence. All of creation was subjected to this sentence after Adam and Eve rebelled against God. God alone could remedy the situation. God is Spirit, and only an eternal sacrifice would suffice for the payment of man’s sins. God had to come to earth, veil Himself in flesh, live a sinless life, and die to pay for our sins. He did this because He loves us and wants to have a relationship with us. He wants us to be His friends. Only what Jesus did, only His righteousness merited to us can make us clean before God. No other sacrifice  will suffice. We can never clean ourselves up enough to please God. Only by applying what Jesus did on the cross makes us worthy to stand before God. He is an eternally “redeeming” God. He wants us to know Him. He wants us to obey His word. We are His creation. Consider these incredible words Paul used to describe Him to the Colossians – “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and blameless, and above reproach in His sight.” (Col. 1: 15-22)

If you study all of the religions of the world you will not find one who invites you into an intimate relationship with God like true Christianity does. Through the grace of Jesus Christ, we are able to draw near to God. We are able to offer Him our lives. We can place our lives in His hands knowing that He loves us completely. He is a good God. He left heaven to be rejected by mankind and to die for us. He wants us to know Him. He wants you to come to Him in faith. He wants to be your friend!

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