Although the foundational description for appreciating our relationship with the Living God is as slaves, the status of the redeemed is elevated by other biblical terms. Notably we are called ‘the friends of God’. This was first used to describe the relationship that Abraham had with God:

NAU Isaiah 41:8 “But you, Israel, My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, Descendant of Abraham My friend,

NIV Isaiah 41:8 “But you, O Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend,

KJV Isaiah 41:8 But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend.

Isaiah was written between 740 and 680 B.C. or roughly 1,300 years after the time of Abraham. This concept of God as friend introduced by Isaiah was followed up by the author of 2 Chronicles whose inspired writings can be dated roughly two hundred years later between 536 and 515 B.C:

NAU 2 Chronicles 20:7 “Did You not, O our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel and give it to the descendants of Abraham Your friend forever?

NIV 2 Chronicles 20:7 O our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?

KJV 2 Chronicles 20:7 Art not thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham thy friend for ever?

To be a friend – the Greek word is teknon – was to be someone close, a dear one or beloved. This is no mere acquaintance but one who is a confident, one who is aware of another’s deep thoughts. This was demonstrated by God in the life of Abraham in Genesis 18:16-33 but especially in verse 17 in the reporting of God’s plans for Sodom and Gomorrah:

NAU Genesis 18:17 The LORD said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do,

NIV Genesis 18:17 Then the LORD said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?

KJV Genesis 18:17 And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do;

As a friend of God, Abraham is allowed to be privy to the intimate plans of God. But it is left to James in God’s revelation to explain why Abraham is called the friend of God:

NAU James 2:23 and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS,” and he was called the friend of God.

NIV James 2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” {23 Gen. 15:6} and he was called God’s friend.

KJV James 2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

It was Abraham’s faith (i.e. confidence or trust) in God that resulted not only in the imputation of righteousness but in becoming God’s friend.

Are you a friend of God? A friend of God is one who trusts God for the care of his/her soul. God demonstrated His care for our soul by promising a remedy for our soul-sickness (i.e. sin) through the work of Christ. Our trust in God’s care for our soul through Christ’s work results in our enjoyment of the remedy – imputation or being declared righteous and therefore able to enter eternally into the presence of God. Such trust is rewarded by being called the friend of God – an elevation from our status as slaves.

4 Responses to “BEING A FRIEND OF GOD”

  1. 1 Phil Brönn April 7, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    What do I as a born again Christian child of God do to become his friend?

  2. 2 eiihal April 14, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    Your question is a great one. To become a friend of God, Scripture teaches that one must accept His invitation to become His friend…in other words, to accept the Good News (the meaning of the word Gospel in the Greek langauge). This means:
    1) believing that Jesus is the Son of God and Son of Man (John 20:30, 31);
    2) believing that Jesus died in your place and received the wrath of God that you deserved for your sin (1 Pet 2:24);
    3) believing that Jesus rose again from the dead as He said He would do to demonstrate that He had overcome the cause of death, i.e. sin (1 Cor 15:12-19).
    This results in being at peace with God. Peace, as you are aware, is the absence of animosity or the lack of hostility (Rom 5:1f). The dictionary definition of a friend is one who is not hostile or one who is not a foe. Therefore, the one at peace with God is one who is no longer in hostility with God. He has made peace with you through the confidence He has given to you in Jesus’ work on the cross. Or said another way, you enter into terms of peace with God by trusting His work of peace through Jesus’ work on the cross. Believers, then, cease striving against God and trying to find peace through their efforts with God.

    But (and this is an important ‘but’), the believer as a friend of God will strive to develop the friendship with God. Friendships with people come as a result of getting to know another individual through communication. It is no different with God. The only way to get to know God better is through the communication He has given us regarding Himself. This is found only in the Bible – both the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament writings. Doing this strengthens the friendship. Therefore, the friend of God (the one who has made peace with God through faith in the work of His Son) will get to know the Scriptures which tell us of the character and nature of our God and His act of reconciliation that benefits the redeemed (2 Tim 3:15, 16).

    Friends also demonstrate love toward one another. Scripture tells us that God’s love for us prompted His sending of Jesus to die on the cross in our place (john 3:16). It also tells us that we can demonstrate our love (and appreciation) for this tremendous sacrifice by the Father and the Son by being obedient to the teaching of the Scriptures (1 John 5:1-3).

  3. 3 robert boyd January 4, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    This is an awesome and accurate teaching. I dont think I’ve ever heard it put plainer or better. We must take time to develop our relationship with God, just as we do with each other, in our daily lives… Robert C. Boyd (‘friend of god’)

  4. 4 2b14u February 20, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    Thanks for your thoughts on this subject.

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