Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Does God Consider You His Friend?

Abraham, a proven friend of God
and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. ~James 2:23

If ever there was an example of true saving faith, lived out in the life of someone, it was Abraham. As Pastor noted last Sunday, Abraham is the “Father of all who believe” and as James puts it, “a friend of God.” James has been talking about faith which is genuine, will be accompanied by good works and Abraham is one of two examples he gives. If Abraham is a model of saving faith for both Jew and Gentile, then how should we relate to him?

Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. ~Galatians 3:7-9

Abraham is the father of our faith and it is through the promise made to him by God Almighty that any of us are saved. Paul explains in the book of Romans that Abraham was justified by faith before he was circumcised so that we Gentiles would be considered righteous by faith as well (Romans 4:9-12). In Abraham we find that the promises of God come not to any one people group, but to those who draw near to God by faith. The thing to note for us here is that Abraham’s faith was proven (justified) before all by his works because it was real. So then, if our faith is real then it will be proven by works. Again, what Pastor said Sunday makes the point:

“How we live (not what we say) proves who we are.”

James is not alone in Scripture when he calls us to good works for the glory of God. I’m sure he got the whole idea from his brother…

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” ~Matthew 6:14-16

The purpose and goal for our good works is not that people would make much about us, but that much would be made about (glorified) God in Heaven! Our faith is made complete and perfected by these good works because they point to the One who saved us to do the good works in the first place! When our faith is proven or justified before the world by our good works, then it is evident God has regenerated our hearts and saved us… it proves we have been Born Again, it proves we are friends of God…

You are my friends if you do what I command you. John 15:14

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