[Rector]

Friendship with God

 

The essence of the Christian faith is friendship with God - intimate relationship, fellowship. The Bible tells us that Abraham was called a friend of God. Enoch was someone who walked with God. In John's first letter, 1:3, he describes the Christian experience as "fellowship with the Father and with the Son Jesus Christ."

In the Bible friendship with God is often called "knowing God." As Jesus said, "this is eternal life, to know the only true God and Jesus Christ whom he has sent", John 17:1 The word "know" is used of the intimate physical and emotional relationship that exists in marriage. So this gives us a glimpse of the depth of the relationship that is possible with God. The outcome of the relationship is life, life eternal. To know God is to possess life in all its fullness and to possess it for eternity. God is not willing to see his friendship with us broken by death.

The way we establish our relationship with God is by the gift of forgiveness. Sin separates us from God, but because of Jesus' death and resurrection, sin is forgiven for those who ask. "Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved", Acts 2:21, Romans 10:13. God's forgiveness is complete and everlasting and is the basis of our eternal friendship with him.

Our friendship with God through Christ is actualized by the presence of the Holy Spirit. A forgiven person is indwelt by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit takes up residence in our innermost being, our inmost personality, our inner consciousness, Luke 11:13. As the Bible puts it, he comes into our heart. In this way we experience God's presence in our lives. "We know that he abides in us by the Spirit which he has given us", 1John 3:24. Through the indwelling Spirit "we know we are the children of God", Romans 8:16.

So it is that our friendship with God is not dependent upon externals - sacred people or sacred things. Friendship with God is ours when we confidently ask for his forgiveness. By this means only do we receive his indwelling Spirit and thus, life eternal.