Let us not forget the word “if” relative to God’s love and promises, each of which is written about extensively in His Holy Bible. His love does indeed have many faces. Each of those faces involves one or more “ifs”–caveats. One of those faces is His love for His friends. We hear much about God’s unconditional love for all of mankind. However, Jesus injects an “if” into the love equation. In John 15:13,14 He said: “Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his FRIENDS. You (disciples) are My friends IF YOU DO WHATSOEVER I COMMAND YOU.” Though these were his hand-picked disciples who would sacrifice their lives for doing what He commanded them to do, His love for them was CONDITIONED upon their obedience to those commands.
In Romans 8:27 we find that He has another name for His friends. Here He calls them “saints.” In this passage He reveals an interesting insight into the love of God. Here we are told that the Lord’s Holy Spirit “works for the SAINTS.” There is no mention of the Spirit intervening on behalf of non-saints. Let us not forget that in the eyes of God, there are only two types of people–His people and Satan’s people. The one an individual obeys is his god–his master. The Biblical God draws people in only one direction–toward Him. All other gods pull people toward themselves. The Lord said that one either gathers with Him or scatters from Him, that one is either for Him or against Him (Mat. 12:30). The dichotomy is sharp and unchangeable–one is either obedient to Him or to the devil. “In Him there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (Jam. 1:17). There is not even a hint of compromise in the Lord. The same is true in His true saints.
Contrary to church opinion, the Lord’s “friends” and “brethren” are not those who have “joined the church” and have “taken Jesus into their heart as their personal savior.” Neither of these acts equates to Christian conversion and acceptance into the Body of Christ. Satanic deception (Rev. 12:9) has caused billions of people to believe that they are Christ’s friends/brethren when the opposite is true. In Matthew’s gospel we find Him identifying His brethren.
In Matthew 12:46-50 Jesus identifies His brethren as those “… who do the will of My Father in heaven.” One will notice that His “brethren” did not include His mother and siblings who, at that point in time, did not believe in him, did not believe His Words, did not obey His Words and therefore did not obey His heavenly Father Who had sent Him to earth and had given Him the Words He spoke. Had His mother and siblings not later become converted they would have all died the death of the nonbeliever.
The Apostle Paul, God’s most prolific Bible writer, stated that if he did not obey God to the letter he would be a “castaway” (1 Cor. 9:27). Because he had been specially chosen by God and given great revelation, knowledge and spiritual insight, God demanded much of him. Paul knew that if he did not meet those expectations he would fail to receive his promised reward–eternal life. He knew that “unto whom much is given, much is required” (Lk. 12:48). We are given the Word/will/Truth–REQUIREMENTS– of God in the form of His Holy Bible. We are REQUIRED to study it, learn it, believe it and obey it. Relative to sowing and reaping, God does not discriminate. We each reap exponentially what we sow regardless of who we are or who we believe ourselves to be (Gal. 6:7). Just as the woman who gave her last mite to the Lord was promised much for her meager contribution, one who commits a single sin will receive much punishment. God says that if we sow the wind we reap the whirlwind, which is true in both the positive and negative sense. Having experienced both scenarios, I can assure you that this is true. L.J.