Conditional Friendship

Jesus said to His disciples, those with whom He had just observed Passover, “‘you are My friends,’” but He added this conditional requirement, “‘if you do whatever I command you’” (John 15:14).

The Bible shows that the building block for friendship in the Family of God is love, and it is what Jesus requires of us: “‘This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you’” (John 15:12, also, verse 17). In fact, Jesus uses His own example to set the standard:

“‘A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another… as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another’” (John 13:34-35).

In what way has Jesus loved us? Just how far was He willing to go to prove His friendship with us? He defined it this way: “‘Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends’” (John 15:13); and we know that “Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Jesus magnified the second part of God’s commandments—“‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:39).

God, Himself, calls Abraham “‘My friend’” (Isaiah 41:8), and God “spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend’” (Exodus 33:11). Both did what God commanded them to do.

Can it also be said that we are friends with the Father and Jesus Christ? Jesus prayed that this would take place among His disciples:

‘”I do not pray for these alone (those whom He had earlier called His friends), but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me’” (John 17:20-23).

The depth of our relationship as friends with the Father and Jesus Christ is shown in that we share in the knowledge of what the Family of God is doing, and that we are part of it:

“‘No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you’” (John 15:15-16).

One thing we can ask the Father is that He will indeed help us to do whatever He commands. That is exactly what Jesus did! He depended on the Father, and the Bible reveals that Jesus prayed for help in the work given to Him to accomplish. Jesus was able to say: “‘I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do’” (John 17:4).

And so it likewise falls to us to finish the work God has commanded us to do. We are chosen for this—because we are the friends of God.

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