Have you ever heard someone say that most of their friends are really just acquaintances? Unfortunately, we tend to be loose with the definition of friend these days. The Bible says that Abraham was a friend of God. The father of our faith is the first person in Scripture called a prophet; more importantly, he was God’s friend.1
Adam and Eve walked with God in the cool of the garden! Can you imagine actually walking with God!? Can you imagine being Peter, James, or John and being in the inner circle of our Lord?
God sent His only begotten Son to restore our relationship with Him. I read the Gospel of Matthew in one sitting this past weekend, and I was struck by people marveling at the authority of Jesus. Interestingly, the Scribes and Pharisees, the ones who knew Scripture best, didn’t recognize Jesus. They argued that the Messiah came from Bethlehem; they didn’t connect the dots that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, fled to Egypt so that the prophecy, out of Egypt I have called My Son could be fulfilled and that He was raised in Nazareth so that He would be called a Nazarene. Even one of His disciples said, “can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Scripture says so.2
It was easy for some of the Pharisees to go so deep into the Scriptures that they missed God. There’s no doubt they loved God, yet in their desire to serve Him well, they began making extra laws to ensure they fulfilled the given law correctly. That’s when you know your theology has lost its relationship.
We do well to keep First Corinthians chapter thirteen at the forefront of our minds. Correct theology without a love for God and others means nothing. Isaiah 29:13 says, “Because this people draw near with their words And honor Me with their lip service, But they remove their hearts far from Me, And their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote,” (NASB95).
God doesn’t care what denomination you belong to; He doesn’t care what theological label you use; He probably prefers we didn’t use any. What matters is, do we know Him, and does He know us? Can the world tell we belong to Him through our love for one another?
- James 2:21-23; Genesis 20:7
- Matthew 7:29, 8:5-13, 10:1, 7-8; John 7:40-45; Matthew 2:15, 23; John 1:43-51