What does it profit, my brothers, though a man say he has faith, and have not works? can faith save him?…
I. THE NATURE OF THAT FRIENDSHIP WHICH SUBSISTS BETWEEN GOD AND HIS PEOPLE.
1. This friendship is not such as subsists between two equals, but between persons widely different in rank and dignity — the friendship that there sometimes is between a mighty prince and one of his subjects, in the former of whom it is mere condescension and kindness, and in the latter honour and preferment.
2. This friendship with God is in consequence of a reconciliation which has taken place (Romans 5:1). A mere act of grace on God's part, through a Mediator; and, on their part, repentance.
3. This friendship includes —
(2) Likeness or agreement.
(3) Cordial esteem and strong affection.
(4) Free and delightful intercourse.
(5) Mutual confidence.
(6) A disposition to please, honour, and serve.
II. REFLECTIONS AND INFERENCES.
1. We are hence led to form the most pleasing ideas of the great and blessed God.
2. How thankful should we be for Jesus Christ; and how ought we to love Him and rejoice in Him, through whom we can view the offended Sovereign of the universe with such complacency, and entertain the hope of His friendship.
3. The excellence and dignity of true religion — it introduces all who are possessed of it to the most exalted state of honour and happiness.
4. What ought to be the temper and conduct of those who are advanced to this high and honourable state?
(1) They are bound to all the expressions of gratitude and love.
(2) Let the friends of God cultivate a more lively faith and habitual confidence in Him.
(3) The friends of God should consider themselves as bound to exercise love and friendship towards others.
5. The relation in which good men stand to God, highly recommends them to the esteem of all who know them.
6. We may hence judge concerning our state, whether we are interested in the Divine friendship or not.
7. We learn what we are to judge of the real character, condition, and duty of those to whom the honourable appellation in the text does not belong. Their character is, that they are the enemies of God: their condition is, that they are the objects of His displeasure; and their duty is. that they instantly seek His friendship, and become reconciled to Him through Jesus Christ.
Parallel VersesKJV: What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?