A friend wanted to do something extravagantly nice for us, so she gave my wife and I tickets to see a musical. Additionally (she felt this second part was less valuable), there was an offer of free babysitting cast into the gift. (As parents of four, we can tell you that babysitting, alone, is an extravagant gift!) The only condition was the requirement to get ourselves to the theatre where the musical was playing. Now that’s an easy condition to meet! Similarly, God wanted to do something extravagantly nice for you, so He offered you friendship. He also gave you one condition: you need to show up at the location where the friendship is happening (namely, you need to believe in Jesus). As this particular passage of Romans is concluded, you’re going to see that God’s free gift of friendship is both inclusive (freely given to everyone) and exclusive (there’s only one way to accept the friendship).
Well, in hindsight, yes I see it was a bad idea (but who lives in hindsight?!) … I took my young son with me to a hospital in order to see someone who was recovering from surgery. Because I’m a pastor some people seem to feel that I have a stronger stomach than others, so every gross detail of the procedure was explained to me, including lots of comments about veins and blood. I’m getting used to these verbally-graphic and horrific (…don’t cringe, straight face, don’t faint, nod and smile) 80’s-gory-movie moments, but my son is absolutely not! He fainted (thankfully, I caught him before he hit the floor), and then he asked me never to take him on another hospital visit again. I’ve learned my lesson. However, I can’t stop exposing him, or you, to gross and gory details while talking about Jesus. Jesus’ blood is part of the reason we are able to befriend God.
After 14 years I can honestly say that one of my greatest friends is my wife. … Yep, “one of…” She’s very happy to be “one of” my greatest friends because she knows there’s just one friend ahead of her. My greatest friend is Jesus. Choosing Jesus before I choose her protects our marriage, our finances, our children, and protects her from whatever I might become without God’s leadership. Befriending Jesus was the best thing I’ve ever done. Friendship with God is attainable, and I want to give you an idea of how it’s achieved.