There is another part to Jesus being our friend that may require some repentance (a change of mind and heart) on our part. Jesus wants to be our friend because He loves us. Yet do we believe He loves us because there is something attractive about us? If so there are two problems we need to address (this is where the repentance comes in). First, if we believe Jesus love is based on our attractiveness what happens if we sin or believe we aren’t attractive to Him? Can we ever be His friend? We all know sin is not attractive to Jesus. After all it required His agonizing death. Secondly, what does scripture teach us about sin and ourselves?
Look at what Paul said.
18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. Romans 7:18 (NKJV)
When he refers to our ‘flesh’ Paul is referring to what he possessed in his natural or pre-conversion self and what stayed around in spite of his new birth and new nature. He describes the same thing in an expanded way in Ephesians 2.
1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. Ephesians 2:1-3 (NKJV)
Paul informs us that prior to conversion we were under God’s judgment and wrath. He further reinforces this in Romans 5.
6 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. Romans 5:6-10 (NKJV) NOTE – Paul refers to our pre-conversion not our present state as being sinners.
So why does Jesus want to be our friend? Is it something in us? Clearly not, it is something in Him. Let us go back to one of the most famous passages in the scriptures.
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 (NKJV)
Jesus wants to be our friend not because of something inherently loveable in us but because it is His nature to love. After all John described Him as love.
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:7-10 (NKJV)
At first glance we may find this discouraging. It shouldn’t be. If Jesus was so passionate about how He could transform His enemies (all of us at one point) that He loved them enough to die for them what do you think He desires in terms of relationship now that His nature is in us through the new birth?
Paul said, 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:3-6 (NKJV) emphasis mine
This awareness of us being made accepted in Jesus is what led to Paul’s prayers in Ephesians 1:17-21 and 3:14-21. Jesus died for us because He loved, and loves, us and nothing we do can separate us from that incredible love. We can rest in His eternal commitment to work things out for our good and present us in His splendor to His, and our, Father. So let us rest in His love for us that He may reveal more of Himself through us.