If we sin and ask forgiveness, is God our friend again?

Q. If we sin and ask forgiveness, is God our friend again?

I do believe I can reassure you that if we genuinely recognize and acknowledge that something we have said or done is wrong, a sin against God, and if we ask God to forgive us, God not only forgives us, based on what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross, but God also restores our relationship to him.

Sin does create a break in our relationship with God. We relate to God as creature to Creator, as child to Heavenly Father, and ideally, as you have suggested, as friend to friend. Jesus said to his disciples at the Last Supper, “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know what his master is doing. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”

However, just before Jesus said that, he said, “You are my friends if you do what I command.” So obedience to God is consistent with friendship with God, and disobedience to God is inconsistent with friendship with God. It breaks that relationship. However, repenting, confessing, and receiving forgiveness  restore that friendship, particularly if we make it our resolve to obey in the future where we have disobeyed in the past.

We should bear in mind that it is God who takes the initiative in cultivating a friendship with us. God is the one who sent Jesus to save us so that we could be restored to relationship with him as his children and friends. God is also the one who sends the Holy Spirit to bring conviction of sin so that we will repent, confess, and ask forgiveness. So we should not be wondering whether God still wants to be friends with us. Instead, we should respond gratefully to God’s initiative to create and preserve the friendship by confessing and forsaking our sins and then eagerly embracing God’s offer of continuing friendship.

Author: Christopher R Smith

The Rev. Dr. Christopher R. Smith is an an ordained minister, a writer, and a biblical scholar. He was active in parish and student ministry for twenty-five years. He was a consulting editor to the International Bible Society (now Biblica) for The Books of the Bible, an edition of the New International Version (NIV) that presents the biblical books according to their natural literary outlines, without chapters and verses. His Understanding the Books of the Bible study guide series is keyed to this format. He was also a consultant to Tyndale House for the Immerse Bible, an edition of the New Living Translation (NLT) that similarly presents the Scriptures in their natural literary forms, without chapters and verses or section headings. He has a B.A. from Harvard in English and American Literature and Language, a Master of Arts in Theological Studies from Gordon-Conwell, and a Ph.D. in the History of Christian Life and Thought, with a minor concentration in Bible, from Boston College, in the joint program with Andover Newton Theological School.

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