God’s character

“The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God” (Hebrews 1:3a, NLT).

Like father, like son and a chip off the old block are two phrases we use to describe the similarity between fathers and sons. Dads love when their sons grow up to be responsible, mature men who took what they learned and put it into practice, and then pass it on to their sons.

In the case of God the Father and Jesus the Son, they are exactly alike. Jesus isn’t just a chip off the old block, but is one with him in everything. God’s glory is the Son’s glory and the character of God is seen in everything the Son does. Some wonder about the apparent disparity between the God we see in the Old Testament, who seems harsh and violent, and the gentle , forgiving Jesus in the New, but there is no difference: when we look at the Son, we see the Father. Like Father, like Son, like Spirit—in love, grace and mercy.

God calls us friends

Chinese Garden of Friendship
Chinese Garden of Friendship (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me” (John 15:15, NLT).

One of my favorite quotations is by Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe: “The world is so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers and cities; but to know someone who thinks and feels with us, and who, though distant is close to us in spirit, this makes the earth for us an inhabited garden.”

So much has been written about friendship and what it means to have a true friend. Some come and go, some stick around our whole lives, some are on Facebook (hi Facebook friends). But no matter what else you can say about it, the bottom line is friendship is a blessing.

Yes, friends may come and go in this life, but there is one who is a real friend in every sense of the word and he will never leave us or forsake us. To think the all powerful Creator of the universe calls us friends is almost unimaginable, but he does. Jesus thinks and feels with us and is not only close in spirit, but lives within us, making our lives beautiful, lush, vibrant gardens.

God is our friend

“So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God” (Romans 5:11, NLT).

There’s nothing like a good friend. If you have one really good one, you’re blessed and if you have more than one, you’re especially blessed. Our instant messaging, online social networking culture has made it easier in some ways to keep in contact, but more difficult to be close to someone in the old fashioned “if you need me, I’m there for you” way. Real, deep friendship still needs face to face nurturing.

Paul knew what having a new relationship with God meant as he had been a law keeper to the max in his former life. His relationship, if you could call it that, was all about the physical stuff—his background (who he was), obedience, staying ceremonially clean, even persecution of Christians. After his encounter with Jesus, it was all about who God is. It was all about a close, intimate relationship with the Creator of the universe, one that caused Paul to fall on his knees in absolute awe. Jesus opened up for us and let us in on the most amazing friendship ever, of Father, Son and Spirit. All we have to do is join in, nurture it and enjoy.