Friday, May 17, 2013

Covenant Benefits ~ Series on Friendship

"Don't you remember that our ancestor Abraham was declared right with God because of what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see, he was trusting God so much that he was willing to do whatever God told him to do. His faith was made complete by what he did - by his actions. And so it happened just as the Scriptures say, 'Abraham believed God, so God declared him to be righteous.' He was even called 'the friend of God'." James 2:21-23 NLT (see Genesis 22, story of Abraham and Isaac)

How does this New Testament verse describe Abraham, and what does his behavior reveal about his faith? First, after remembering Abraham's ancestry and the Jewish lineage, Scripture tells us he is declared righteous by God because of his obedience to God's command. We then understand Abraham's faith foundation comes from fully trusting God. Abraham's faith was made complete in his obedience. Then, God calls Abraham "friend". 

Last week in defining friendship, one idea centered around a trusted confidential relationship. Abraham fully trusts God, and we understand this in observing his actions. Back up a few decades and read Genesis 15; God makes a covenant with Abram, long before this act of obedience demonstrates his faithfulness. A Promised Land and many descendants will become his legacy. When Abraham is 99 years old, God again blesses Abraham, renewing His covenant calling him the father of many nations and millions of descendants, and promising him a son, to be named Isaac. This relationship exemplifies a trusted confidential relationship that evolves into a genuine friendship with God.

A lifestyle of spontaneous obedience is the most compelling evidence of our friendship and affection for Christ. [Blackaby Study Bible] A growing intimacy with Christ reveals an increasing awareness of His Presence. Christ chooses us, but our hesitation or reluctance or denial to respond creates barriers. Without an intimate relationship with Christ, our offerings to the world are of limited significance. Christ meets us where we are and offers us His covenant benefits.  How does your lifestyle describe you, and what does your behavior reveal about your faith? Can God call you friend? ~dho