A New Birth of Freedom
July 4, 2019
July 21, 2019

Friend of God

Most people have many acquaintances but very few friends. Friendship is a bond of connection that has formed through mutual experience and admiration. Your respect for each other and mutual enjoyment makes the friendship endure. There is a strong bond that has formed between you. You trust each other, and you enjoy each other’s company. You can easily talk to each other, or you can sit in silence because you are entirely comfortable with each other. You know you can count on your friend to be there in tough times. When your friend has a need, you embrace it as your need. You know your friend will drop everything and be there for you when you need him. Treasure your friends. If you have a friend, you have a treasure. Having a friend is a treasure beyond things that money can buy.

The best marriages have experienced this kind of friendship, and the best parent-child relationships have experienced this intimate friendship. However, the best friendship anyone will ever know is friendship with God. Abraham experienced that: He is called “Friend of God” (Isa 41:8). That is quite a compliment.

Genesis 15 records a conversation between Abram and God. It is an exchange of words and feelings. We can learn some valuable things from this conversation. God began by letting Abram know that he would be his shield, and because of that, he did not need to be afraid (Gen 15:1). As the conversation progresses, it becomes clear that Abram is confused as to why God has not delivered on his promise. God had previously promised Abram that he would have a son, but that had not happened. Abram proposes to God a way to make that happen—through the adoption of his servant Eliezer. God corrects Abram and reiterates his promise again: Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars — if indeed, you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be” (Gen 15:4)

Abram did not verbally respond, but the scripture speaks to us clearly telling us what happened next: Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:6). Abram believed God, and God counted that belief as righteousness. He placed Abram in right standing with himself. This became the verse that influenced the Apostle Paul in the writing of Galatians and Romans. Paul uses the experience of what happened between Abram and God to explain how salvation works. We believe God’s Word, and God makes us righteous. It was not what Abram did but what he believed. His faith was credited as righteousness. This one verse has made such an impact on our understanding of faith. Abram trusted God—to keep his promises. Though it took a long time and seemed impossible, God did keep this promise to Abram.

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