(Abraham... was called Friend of God - James 2:23)

            Before we consider the quotation at the head of this article one would point out the loss that Christians often experience because great blessings get mixed up with serious error. To take the matter before us, Scripture says “Greet the friends by name. ” (3 John 14). Today if we said that it would be thought that we were Quakers as they are known as the Society of Friends. Further the term brethren has become the name of fellowships such as the Plymouth Brethren. Actually, all true Christians are brethren in Christ. We do not often hear Christ spoken of as a teacher, probably because in the world generally Christ is regarded as a good man and a great religious teacher but no more. Again we do not hear Christ spoken of as the Prophet because that title has been hi’jacked by the Moslems for Mohammed, their own so-called prophet.

            However, the matter of friends has a place in Scripture that should not be overlooked. It is distinct from the term brethren which is a relationship based on common parentage. Friendship is rather a matter of compatibility. The statement of James at the head of this article is based on statements in the Old Testament which are found in Isaiah 41:8 and 2 Chronicles 20:7.These statements are themselves confirmed by what God says in Genesis 18:17 “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing... ?” God confided to Abraham what He was doing and in this He was treating Abraham as a friend. Confidence is a mark of friendship (Psalm 41:9). Much more could be said to confirm this, but the point one would make is that if we want to have the mind of God about things we must be moving on lines pleasing to him. Consider the passage in Genesis 18 already quoted as to Abraham. Friendship involves intimacy as we find as regards Moses: “And Jehovah spoke with Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.” (Exodus 33:11). Note: the use of the word ‘with’ and not simply ‘to’. This intimacy is possible in measure to Christians, but it involves that they must be moving on lines pleasing to God, as Scripture says: “The secret of Jehovah is with them that fear him” (Psalm 25:14) and “His (Jehovah’s) secret is with the upright” (Proverbs 3:32). We find in practice that Daniel and his companions experienced this blessing. Consider Daniel 2 particularly verses 18,19,22,27,28,29,30 and 47.

            Finally, one would say: “But the Lord Jehovah will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7). It has I believe been well said: “I have a strong impression that there will be those here on the earth who will be in the secret of the fact that the Lord is just about to come.” and “There is marvellous ministry given in the church, but there is something more than that, and that is, light from heaven for yourself” (Ministry by Russell Besley pages 17 and 115). The beginning of a person’s life as a Christian is when he turns from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, receiving the remission of sins and an inheritance (Acts 26:18).Consider also Colossians 1:12-14. However, that is only the beginning and we must go on as John Bunyan’s pilgrims did.

May 2010