Hinge of Christianity
In the early church believers were simply referred to as “Friends.” Jesus started this trend among his followers when he made the startling statement:
“Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth: but I have called you FRIENDS; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” (John 15:15)
Of course, this was not out of character for the One who was God manifested in the flesh. He had often ‘befriended’ those He called out of the human race. Abraham was called “the Friend of God” and Moses spoke with God face to face “as a man speaks to his friend.” (Isaiah 41:8, James 2:23, Exodus 33:11)
This ‘friendship relationship’ overflowed among the disciples to such degree that John exhorted, “Greet all THE FRIENDS by name.” (3 John 14) We need to return to that kind of spirit and emphasize it again. We are not just workers in the same church, or members of the same denomination. We are family. We are friends. And we need to treat each other as such. True friendship normally results in sacrificial service—not performed as a duty, but an expression of love.
Mere religion can produce cold, calculating, opportunists and manipulators who seek position and profit for personal gain. Relationship, not religion, is what Christianity is all about—not only our relationship with God, but the developing of deep covenant relationships with one another. This takes a willingness to be humble and vulnerable to each other. God help us to flow in such simplicity and realness. God help us to be real friends to one another in the body of Christ! This is not an option. This is our survival.