John 15: 15 Henceforth I do not call you servants; for the servant does not know what his lord does: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
Based on this verse, it is commonly taught and believed that all Christians… all believers in the Lord, Jesus… are friends of God. There are even popular songs to that effect.
The question is: Is that a reasonable and accurate interpretation? Are all believers friends of God?
This is one of many examples of taking scripture out of context that goes on in our day and age, as we will see if we simply look at the entire thought that Jesus presented:
John 15: 9 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 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.
I won’t go into some deep, penetrating explanation because it’s obvious… we are His friends if we obey Him and love one another as He has loved us.
To really grasp this, I think we have to go back to the original command in scripture to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.
Leviticus 19 (KJV):16 Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour; I am the LORD.17 Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him. 18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.
Young’s Literal Translation of verse 17:`Thou dost not hate thy brother in thy heart; thou dost certainly reprove thy fellow, and not suffer sin on him.
I use the KJV and YLT here simply because I believe they are more accurate and true to the original intent. If you look at verse 17 in other translations, you’ll see how the idea changes in verse 17, such as the following in the NIV:
17 “‘Do not hate a fellow Israelite in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in their guilt.
There is a big difference between
- Not suffering (or allowing) sin to be upon a brother, and
- Rebuking him so we don’t share in their guilt.
Think about this:
What is the highest and greatest thing that Jesus did for us? He would not suffer (allow) sin upon us, and laid down His life for us.
If we understand the nature and consequences of sin, then we’ll understand that allowing sin to be or remain upon a brother is truly the exact opposite of love. That is why we have warnings in the word, such as:
Jude 1: 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. 22 And on some have compassion, making a distinction; 23 but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.
“What is he getting at?” You’re probably wondering as you scratch your head. Here’s what I’m getting at:
There are Christians, all over the world, who see and recognize how much of a mess the Body of Christ has gotten into, and I feel we have a big tendency to be harsh and critical, rather than broken-hearted and full of tender compassion toward our brethren.
I sense that the Lord may be showing me some things. If you disagree, let me know in the comments below.
The Body, to a large degree, has fallen into apostasy, apathy, self-centeredness, idolatry, and much more; including those who see these issues. There is an overall lack of genuine tenderness and love by those who see the issues toward those who don’t or won’t.
There is a great need among those who see to truly have the heart of God toward the unseeing ones and the lost, and having the heart of God is a supernatural thing. We can’t just decide to have it. We must allow His heart to beat within us, by faith.
The seeing ones must begin to communicate and bond together with common vision and purpose, provoking one another to love and good works, because the time is short; things are getting uglier and messier by the day; and God must and will have His true remnant walking the earth in these last days. It’s not good enough for us to be scattered voices here and there, weak and fragile, as I know I am.
If this is of God, then let’s start communicating, praying, collaborating, exchanging ideas. If it’s not, I probably need to start checking out some nursing homes, or at least watch what I eat before going to bed.
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