October 21, 2022
Bishop, W. F. Houston, Jr.
James 2:21-24 (MSG)
21-24 Wasn’t our ancestor Abraham “made right with God by works” when he placed his son Isaac on the sacrificial altar? Isn’t it obvious that faith and works are yoked partners, that faith expresses itself in works? That the works are “works of faith”? The full meaning of “believe” in the Scripture sentence, “Abraham believed God and was set right with God,” includes his action. It’s that weave of believing and acting that got Abraham named “God’s friend.” Is it not evident that a person is made right with God not by a barren faith but by faith fruitful in works?
If you love God and accept what He says in his Word, then you are a friend of God.
What would life be like without friends - those priceless people who love you despite your flaws and who are there for you through your triumphs and tragedies, those to whom you've pledged your allegiance and whose company you hold dear? There is no doubt that they are among the greatest gifts that God has given, but there is another even more excellent gift, which is the friendship of God Himself.
In John 15:13-16, Jesus discussed this type of friendship, characterizing it as one defined by closeness, mutual affection, the willingness to make sacrifices, and commitment. In verse 14, He tells them, "If you do what I command you to do, then you are My friends." Abraham displayed this kind of friendship by obeying God and preparing to sacrifice his son (Gen. 22:3-10). Through Isaac, God would fulfill His promise to Abraham. Killing him would be a breach of that covenant and an attack on the character of God, whose Word condemns the sacrifice of human beings (Deut. 18:10).
Abraham had unwavering faith to follow God's instructions. When he did what God commanded, his dedication was evident to everyone. Because Abraham had confidence in God, he was declared righteous and freed from the guilt of sin (Gen. 15:6). As a result of sacrificing Isaac, his faith was established, and he was declared righteous.
Even while faith is the only requirement for salvation, it is never sufficient on its own; instead, it is always accompanied by acts pleasing God. This litmus test tests genuine salvation and a close relationship with God.
As a friend of God, you should value this friendship above all else and take care to avoid ever allowing sin to deprive you of the joy that this friendship can bring.