I ran across a line in D. A. Carson's book, The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God last night that really made me think. Carson says, "No where in scripture is God or Jesus ever spoken of as our friend."
Now, I immediately had the same reaction you might have when you read the title of my blog post. You remember, just as I did, that scripture talks about us being friends, right? Well, go re-read that passage (James 2:23 if you've misplaced it). It talks about us being the friend of God...but not the other way around. How is that possible?
Carson uses this illustration, which I've edited a bit for clarity. He uses the illustration of a military officer and an enlisted man. In one case, the officer has known the man's family for years and watched him grow up. He says, "Jim, go get the Hummer. I need you to drive me to a meeting at HQ. While I'm in the meeting, you can use the Hummer to run around or go catch a movie. Just be back to pick me up at 1600." No problem then, if the enlisted man goes to a movie in the Colonel's Hummer.
In the other case, the two are not acquainted. The Colonel says, "Corporal, go get the Hummer. I need you to drive me to the HQ for a meeting. I'll be finished at 1600."
The corporal then responds, "Only on one condition, sir. I want to take the Hummer and catch a movie. It'll be over by 1630...just wait for me and I'll pick you up when I'm done." Problem? I'd say three-hots-and-a-cot is in store for the corporal.
Do you see the difference between the corporal being a friend of the Colonel, and the Colonel being a friend of the corporal?
Why is this relationship with God important? Well, we've managed to screw it up pretty royally in our churches today, and this sermon jam from Richard Ganz is a pretty good illustration of why it's a problem.
This is another reason why you (who know me) hear me rail against Jesus-is-my-boyfriend music...it is a theological distortion of significant proportion. I love the line from The Voice's song, WDJD- "...Jesus is not your homeboy, your dog; he is God and will bite you, hard and right through...".
Click that link and download the song and listen to it...there's more depth in it than any hundred Jesus-prom-songs combined. And get Carson's book. It only takes about an hour to read the whole thing. It's an hour well-spent.