Is Jesus the Friend of Sinners?
There are buzzwords in the modern church system, such as “unconditional love and "unity" that are flags waved high to get people to come into the “four walls.” They have conformed to the notion the Jesus is a friend of sinners, and in order to show God's love, we must all do the same. A closer look into this modern doctrine reveals that it isn't part of the Gospel message at all, but is another “gospel” to get people to come into the man-made church buildings, rather than becoming temples of the Holy Spirit.
When Paul spoke the Gospel to the religious pagans in Athens in the midst of Mars Hill, he didn't wait to become friends first to share his beliefs, but boldly spoke truth about their idolatry and need of repentance. You cannot be called an evangelist if your purpose is not to first bring the Gospel, but instead wanting to be friends with the world. This is an absurd method to abide by and not how the apostles conducted their evangelism, nor how they taught among the early ekklesia. This does not mean we ignore developing friendships, but to grow in a relationship takes time and time is not something that we all have. It should be important to understand that friendships are not a necessity to bringing the Gospel message.
The problem in the modern church is the picture that they have painted of Christ that does not line up with what Scripture says about him. What most pew warmers say and do are simply parroting what their pastors have told them, but they have never searched the Scriptures to see if what they are saying is true. The popular phrase that, “Jesus is a friend of sinners” is not true. The phrase is cloaked in something that seems noble, but is actually a marketing ploy to fill church pews. A full church means that business is good.
The phrase, “Jesus is a friend of sinners” can be found in the Bible, but in the right context was used to discredit him. To say that Jesus Christ is not a friend of sinners will probably bring offense to many, but personal feelings on the matter will not change this truth.
By looking into Scripture, it will reveal a counterfeit "gospel" that what the modern church is promoting today.
Ye are my friends, IF ye do whatsoever I command you. – John 15:14
It should be quite clear who Jesus defines who his friends are. They are those who obey him.
Do sinners obey Christ's commands?
No they don’t. Sinners are referred to as children of disobedience.
Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the CHILDREN OF DISOBEDIENCE - Ephesians 2:2
For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the CHILDREN OF DISOBEDIENCE: - Colossians 3:6
A further in depth look at why Christ is not a friend of sinners is further revealed in this follwing verse:
Now we know that GOD HEARETH NOT SINNERS: - John 9:31
The origin of the phrase that "Jesus is the friend of sinners" came from the corrupted religious leaders of Christ's day.
And when the PHARISEES saw it, they said unto his disciples, WHY EATETH YOUR MASTER WITH PUBLICANS AND SINNERS? – Matthew 9:11
The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, BEHOLD A MAN GLUTTONOUS, AND A WINEBIBBER, A FRIEND OF PUBLICANS AND SINNERS. – Matthew 11:19
But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, WHY DO YE EAT AND DRINK WITH PUBLICANS AND SINNERS? – Luke 5:30
The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, BEHOLD A GLUTTONOUS MAN, AND A WINEBIBBER, A FRIEND OF PUBLICANS AND SINNERS! – Luke 7:34
Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, THIS MAN RECIEVETH SINNERS, AND EATETH WITH THEM. – Luke 15:1-2
And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That HE HAS GONE TO BE GUEST WITH A MAN THAT IS A SINNER. – Luke 19:7
By carefully examining the context of these verses, it reveal that it was the religious leaders that were wrongly accusing Christ of having fellowship with darkness.
Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the fFRIENDSHIP OF THE WORLD IS ENMITY WITH GOD? – James 4:4
Christ welcomed those who brought forth the fruit of repentance, but excluded those who didn't.
The fruit of repentance is abhorring sin, and forsaking its ways.
If God is a friend to sinners, knowing that all have sinned, then how can He have any enemies?
Think about it. Christ being a "friend to sinners" requires that his Father is also a sinners’ friend.
We should know that He isn't. That is why Christ said,
O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? -Matthew 12:34
Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? – Matthew 15:3
This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. – Mark 7:6-7
Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. – John 8:44
The picture that is painted by the modern church today portrays Christ as cozying up to sinners and being their “homeboy” and “B.F.F.” This is unsupported in Scripture. What is supported is that Christ is only friends to those who obey him and draws near in humility. By portraying Christ as a “friend of sinners” is promoting a message that he never taught. A sinner who is a friend of God has no need to repent and turn from their sin because it convinces them that they are already acceptable to Him. Many are deceived into believing that church membership equates to being accepted by Christ, when it is really the acceptance of man and their traditions.
For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: NEITHER SHALL EVIL DWELL WITH THEE. – Psalm 5:4
BE YE NOT UNEQUALLY YOKED TOGETHER WITH UNBELIEVERS: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? – 2 Corinthians 6:14
I am come a light into the world, that WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH ON ME SHOULD NOT ABIDE IN DARKNESS. – John 12:46
Do not buy into the false gospel that is conveyed from the pulpits in the modern church. The Good News is about being no longer a slave to sin, not that “Jesus is your friend.” It is only through that change that we have access to becoming a friend of God.
For if he that cometh PREACHETH ANOTHER JESUS, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or ANOTHER GOSPEL, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. – 1 Corinthians 11:4
The True Gospel
The purpose of Christ is the Gospel message that he came to save the lost who accepting the love of the Father through him by repenting of the ways of the world. The true Gospel is in contrast with being a “friend to sinners.” That is why we don’t see Paul, Peter, John and Matthew etc. joining in the chorus of false accusers that sated that he was “friend of sinners” like the Pharisees did.
For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, SEPARATE FROM SINNERS, and made higher than the heavens – Hebrews 7:26
It should be clear and evident in John 15:14 quoted earlier who Jesus' friends are (those who obey him).
Many believe that being a friend to the sinner is showing Christ’s love for that person, but being a "friend" to the sinner is completely different in context. A lot of people do not understand the accurate context of love; therefore, they embrace the false doctrine of being a friend to sinners. Often having genuine love for someone requires the action that others may not see as loving.
In Luke 7:36-50, Christ was in a Pharisee’s house and a woman who was a sinner came and washed his feet. The Pharisees tried to discredit him when he allowed her to do this, but what they did not understand was that this woman was in the process of conversion (repentance) from a being a sinner to a saint. The woman's action showed her humble and broken heart towards him. It was by this action that brought her into the righteousness of Christ.
And he said to the woman, THY FAITH HAS SAVED THEE; go in peace. – Luke 7:50
The woman was a sinner before her experience with Christ. Just like us, we were once sinners too, until he cleansed us of our sin. The Pharisees were blind to what Christ was doing. It should be obvious that before the woman's conversion that Christ was not hanging out with her, nor being her friend. He did not try to build some relationship bridge first before he could convert her. Likewise, just as Paul spoke the Gospel to the religious pagans in Athens at Mars Hill for the first time, he didn't wait to become friends first to share his beliefs.
When we look at Christ's example of associating with sinners we see that he did visit and dine with sinners, but it was with the intent to preach the Gospel. If our intention is to do the same, then that would be aligning with Scripture, but if the intention is to become “friends” with sinners, then that is not the Gospel. You cannot call yourself an evangelist unless your purpose first and foremost is to first bring the Gospel message.
Is becoming a relationship bridge (friendship) more important than boldly proclaiming the Gospel?
Most who boldly proclaimed the Gospel in Scripture were persecuted for doing so. Most don’t understand that boldly proclaiming truth will be an offence to many. The apostles never went out first to try to make friends because the Gospel is not about us being a friend to sinners, but about repentance and turning from sins.
Why do most people believe that friendship is a prerequisite to salvation?
We cannot save anyone; the Gospel is about what Christ has already done. We are not extensions of it. Being an extension is an attempt to add to what he has already done.
Be ye not UNEQUALLY YOKED TOGETHER WITH UNBELIEVERS: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? and WHAT AGREEMENT HATH THE TEMPLE OF GOD WITH IDOLS? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM, AND BE YE SEPARATE, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. – 2 Corinthians 6:14-18
Righteousness has no part with lawlessness. There is no harmony with Christ and Satan. The temple of the living God has nothing in common with idolatry. A believer has nothing in common with an unbeliever.
Most sheeple want to believe that they have something in common with the unbeliever. The modern churches falsely promote that being a follower of Christ is inclusive, but the message in Scripture is that it is exclusive. That is why “Jesus is a friend of sinners” is actually an advocate for the false doctrine universalism.
Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the FRIENDSHIP OF THE WORLD is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. – James 4:4
Christ said that His friends are those who obey Him. He did not say the opposite.
Do you take a stand on what he said?
Either you believe this, or you are in contradiction to Christ's words. He has told us what will happen on judgement day:
And then will I profess unto them, I NEVER KNEW YOU: DEPART FROM ME, ye that work iniquity. – Matthew 7:23
Sinners are disobedient, rebellious and lawless people. The above verse reveals that Christ is denying his so-called “friends.” Many see this as being unfriendly because it is easier to accept and believe in the universal “Jesus” who is friends with everybody.
But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and DO NOT OBEY THE TRUTH, BUT OBEY UNRIGHTEOUSNESS, INDIGNATION AND WRATH – Romans 2:5-8
Those who do not obey the truth are not accepted; therefore, they are not friends of Christ.
The Gospel is about reaching to as many as possible, and having compassion in your heart for the hurt and the lost.
True friends are people who we have harmony, partnership, agreement and things we have in common with. It is only after the sinner repents as a response to the mercy of God that the characteristics of friendship with Christ is possible. The contrast in James 4:4 is crystal clear. The only two men who were attested to be friends of God were Moses (Exodus 33:11) and Abraham (James 2:23). It did not come from the mouths of the Pharisees.
Scripture does not contradict itself. Christ wasn't the "friend of sinners," but of the humble. If he was the “friend of sinners,” then he would have been the friend of the Pharisees who he considered the worst sinners of all calling them liars, murderers and thieves.
If Christ is the eternal judge whose wrath is stored up for unbelievers, then why would you say that he is their friend first?
It is putting the cart before the horse. The true Gospel is about repenting of your sins and then receiving the friendship of Christ. It is impossible for it to be the other way around unless Scripture is twisted. The modern church has become apostate because of their false “gospel” that is promoted. It is all about about getting as many of your friends into what is called church.
The genuine Gospel is not about those going into temples made with man’s hands, but about becoming temples of the Holy Spirit. The promotion of unity in the church system is about compromise and has nothing to do with being in one accord with Christ.
Christ is coming for his bride who will be without, spot, stain or wrinkle. The true Bride looks a lot different than what most believe it to be.
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