What is a friend? Who is my friend?
We often group the people with whom we have a loose association
and the people with whom we are endeared together as friends. But,
Greek texts and some literal English translations of the Bible differentiate
between the two: philo (friend); hetairos (comrade, associate, companion,
Philos (which is translated friend) was originally an adjective
denoting loved, dear, or friendly and later became used as a noun
(Vines). A friend is one for whom we have affection (phile). We
often express this type of friendly affection as "feeling" or "sentiment"
- e.g., those for whom we have feelings. Therefore a friend (philos)
is one whom we love (phile); hence, a friend is one whom we do good
toward from an affectionate conviction.
Hours before His arrest, Jesus taught His apostles concerning love
and friends. In John 15:13-15 Jesus said: "Greater love has no one
than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. You are
my friends if you do whatever I command you. 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."
In respect to Jesus, He is my friend because He loved me and died
for me. In this sense, Jesus is everyone's friend although many
people have not reciprocated His friendship. So we learn here that
friendship is not always a two-way street - we can be someone's
friend without them reciprocating our friendship.
Jesus said to the apostles earlier in this discourse: "If you love
Me, keep My commandments" (Jn. 14:15). Now He tells them that they
are His friends if they do whatever He commands them (Jn. 15:14).
Today, the people who love Jesus and are keeping His commands are
His friends. These are the people who have reciprocated Jesus' friendship
and are no longer servants (Jn. 14:15; Gal. 4:7).
Abraham serves as an example of God's friend. James said: "Was
not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac
his son on the alter? Do you see that faith was working together
with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture
was fulfilled which says, 'Abraham believed God, and it was accounted
to him for righteousness.' And he was called the friend of God"
You and I are either friends of God or friends of the world. We
cannot be friends of both. James said: "Adulterers and adulteresses!
Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?
Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself
an enemy of God" (Jas. 4:4). We either love the world or God. We
are either friends of the world or friends of God. Jesus said: "No
one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love
the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and mammon" (Matt. 6:24).
In the truest sense of the word, we must be careful as to whom
we claim as friends. And we must teach our children to differentiate
between true friends and those who are actually associates.
To be God's friend and Jesus' friend we must keep their commandments.
Politicians are famous for litmus tests. Here is a Scriptural litmus
test: Am I being a friend of God? And for other individuals whom
I consider my friend I should ask: Are they a friend of God?
Now this question is worthy of your consideration: Are you a friend
of God? If you are God's friend, an eternal home in heaven is waiting
for you. But if you are not a friend of God, . . .