Is Jesus the Friend of Sinners?

The Friend to Anybody Jesus
The Friend to Anybody Jesus


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.

Jesus eats with sinners for the purpose of the Gospel.
Jesus eats with sinners for the purpose of the Gospel.
Jesus' Accusers
Jesus' Accusers

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.

The result of friendship with sinners.
The result of friendship with sinners.

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

Then what are saints?
Then what are saints?

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.

Friendship with the world fills the pews.
Friendship with the world fills the pews.

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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Comments Appreciated 15 comments

Rayne123 3 years ago

I really like your hub and agree with you fully.

I know Jesus is "friends of sinners" doesn't mean what people think it means, Jesus asks of them to repent and shows them he does not judge, however he wishes they not to sin again.

This hub reminds me of mine "in the hands of an angry God" most do not want to believe in his wrath, yet his wrath is spoken of many times in the bible.

I mean its quite simple enough, Jesus is merciful and just.

Thank you

Laurie


Jisblessed 3 years ago

For the most part I don't understand. It sounds more of the Pharisees way of thinking and believing. Where is Grace and Truth that came by Jesus? I believe Jesus is a friend to Sinners but not all Sinners are a friend to Jesus. And that was part of His mission to seek out and save those that would be his friends (set apart for the kingdom).

We have to be careful in discerning and understanding the scriptures, even the Red words of Jesus. You have to know who He was speaking to Sinners or Saints?

The Wrath of God was poured out upon Jesus on his way to and on the cross. He's no longer angry with us (the world) He only want us to know and understand His purpose for us and His LOVE.

If we reject Him and the finished work on the Cross, then are we classified as Sinners for Judgement who will experience the wrath of God intended for the Devil and his angels because we failed to lean on , rely upon and confidently trust in Jesus finished work.

We've through time have exchanged ideas with the non believers in Christ. Easter- bunny, Christmas-Tree, holloween-holyween, All are attempts to bring people to know and honor Jesus (God). And so it is with the church in ways of how they praise and worship; exchange has been made again to draw people to God with lyrics. It's the lyrics that matters most. We are receivers of words whether spoken or sang.

They will influence our thinking and behavior to a degree.

Is really about the money? maybe for some. What about the ones that are concerned about souls and pulling people out of darkness into Jesus marvelous light. The word is spoken after the music stops. Judge that rather to see if they be of God, I would say.

In conclusion, I would say, YES Jesus is a friend of Sinners! But not all sinners is a friend of Jesus. He not a friend to join in with their way of doing things and believing. But rather a friend to turn them around unto the Grace and Truth of the Heart of God for their lives.


PlanksandNails profile image

PlanksandNails 3 years ago from among the called out of the ekklesia of Christ Author

Rayne123,

I am glad that you understand that "friends of sinners" is not what people believe it to be. I believe this is the key to understanding why there is rampant apostasy that has infested and infiltrated the church. When the church becomes all- inclusive, it conforms, compromises and becomes friends with the world. It will get people in the doors to have their ears tickled so money will keep flowing into the offering plate.

Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, THEY HAVE THEIR REWARD. - Matthew 6:2

Many quote John 3:16, but ignore the verses that proceed it.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but HE THAT BELIEVETH NOT IS CONDEMNED ALREADY, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. - John 3:16-18

If Jesus is a friend of sinners, then why are they already condemned? It is because He is not the friend of sinners, but desires the world to be saved so that they become His friends.


PlanksandNails profile image

PlanksandNails 3 years ago from among the called out of the ekklesia of Christ Author

Jisblessed,

Jesus wants to be our friend, but that requires us to humbly accept His gift of salvation. Many falsely believe that He can be their friend without the process of salvation. This stems from tradition of man wanting make people feel good about coming into the all-inclusive apostate “church” building, rather than becoming the true church, which are temples of the Holy Spirit. The modern church’s “gospel” neglects the most important part of the true Gospel, which is through conviction and repentance.

(“We've through time have exchanged ideas with the non believers in Christ. Easter- bunny, Christmas-Tree, holloween-holyween, All are attempts to bring people to know and honor Jesus (God).”)

Mixing the holy and profane together is not the true Gospel. There is no such thing as “non-believers in Christ.” Many conform to the traditions of man by adapting to the corrupt pagan practices during these pagan holidays. Jesus was not born during Christmas, nor did He die on Good Friday and resurrect on Easter Sunday. Halloween is about human sacrifice and idolatry. Personal feelings won’t change these facts. They are simply foolish attempts by the modern “church” by attempting to syncretize activities that have always been pagan and call it “Christian.” The modern “church” says that they are attempting to bring people to know and honor Jesus, but it simply is a compromising activity that conforms to the traditions of man. They do not want to offend the world by calling it for what it is. That is why the modern “pastors” are on a high on these pagan dates because they get the “sheeple” to become “friends” with the world to get them INTO the building rather than calling them to repentance for their pagan activities. Going INTO the man-made buildings does not save souls, it produces members. True believers will uphold God's designation of holiness and will shun the profane. What influences will reveal whether we resemble God or not. To what degree will determine who the true and faithful witnesses of the Gospel are. The success of the modern “church” is not about the Gospel, but the monetary.

And they shall teach my people the difference between the HOLY and PROFANE, and cause them to DISCERN between the UNCLEAN and the CLEAN. – Ezekiel 44:23

(“What about the ones that are concerned about souls and pulling people out of darkness into Jesus marvelous light.”)

If you reread this article, there is no mention of neglecting the Gospel message at all. The Gospel is NOT about wanting people to be your friend, but about REPENTANCE. Repentance is the only way to salvation that pulls people out of darkness.

(YES Jesus is a friend of Sinners! But not all sinners is a friend of Jesus.)

Are you saying that Jesus was selective of the sinners He is friends with? Jesus becomes a friend to those who are in the process, or have repented of their sins. As I stated in this article, friends are people who we have harmony, partnership, agreement and things we have in common with. I don’t believe in the “gospel” of the “church” building and friendship with the world. This will be offensive to the “sheeple” and the clergy that rules over them because they have been indoctrinated into thinking this way.

Sinners are children of disobedience. Saints are children of obedience through grace.

Ye are my friends, IF ye do whatsoever I command you. – John 15:14

The characteristic of who Jesus’ friends are can be applied to all those who love, believe, and obey Him.


teacherjoe52 profile image

teacherjoe52 3 years ago

Good morning brother.

Yes Jesus loves sinners but we are to share the gospel with them and let them decide if they want to be Jesus' friend.

God bless you.


PlanksandNails profile image

PlanksandNails 3 years ago from among the called out of the ekklesia of Christ Author

Teacherjoe,

Yes, God loved us before we loved Him. God is calling all sinners to accept His gift of love. God's love (agapao) sent His Son to pay the debt for all mankind, but God is only a friend (phileo) to those who are in Christ.


shofarcall profile image

shofarcall 3 years ago

Great hub P+N,

It is high time this was 'taken on.' I have had to practice this in real, now, life recently....making it clear that I did not accept and was not 'friends' with someone who proclaimed to be in Christ but was wilfully sinning. People forget that in most instances, including the woman who was about to be stoned....Jesus said, I too forgive you, now go AND SIN NO MORE. They conveniently forget the second half.

As always, clarity, stark truth with biblical back up in your hub. Thank you. God Bless. Voted up, awesome and sharing.


PlanksandNails profile image

PlanksandNails 3 years ago from among the called out of the ekklesia of Christ Author

Shofarcall,

Thank-you for sharing you experience. A lot of people are affirming those who are living in a lifestyle of sin. The modern "church" has failed by being all- inclusive to anyone and everyone. They believe that the "Gospel" is about being a friend of sinners.

Many have no concept or knowledge of the doctrine of separation that is in the Bible.

I have been accused of not showing God's love, and an object of disdain by those who have a shallow understanding of what Scripture says about "Christians" who practice sin. It is not easy standing on the truth, and many are persecuted for doing so.

And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and HAVE NO COMPANY WITH HIM, that he may be ashamed. - 2 Thessalonians 3:14

Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye WITHDRAW YOURSELVES from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. - 2 Thessalonians 3:6

Biblical separation is about rebuking false teachings and willful sinful practices by standing on God’s truth. The false "Gospel" of unity is a stumbling block that ignores sound doctrine that never brings anyone to Christ, but only creates false converts by ignoring sinful behaviors.


shofarcall profile image

shofarcall 3 years ago

Amen!


happy-scribe profile image

happy-scribe 3 years ago

I appreciated this - it's always bothered me that people mistake Jesus' affection for the humble and repentant 'sinners' as some sort of validation for their own sin so long as they're not like one of those "wicked legalist Pharisees." Somehow the church has missed that the anger that burned in Jesus against the Pharisees was not that they upheld the law, but that they in their pride saw in themselves no need for a physician (largely because they thought they could gain salvation by their own hands and the right of their birth).

If only we would spend as much energy pursuing this elusive virtue of humility as we do our efforts not to feel condemned or otherwise get our feelings hurt... ;)


Brenda Durham 3 years ago

Very good, truthful hub! I love it! I'm sorry I hadn't seen it sooner!

Rated way UP and all that.


Brenda Durham 3 years ago

However, I do want to ask you something specifically if you don't mind. Are you of any religious denomination or "Church"? I mean, almost everyone congregates for worship with a specific group of people with a specific set of doctrinal rules. Unless they're simply non-denominational and aren't members of any specific organization.

I've always said that Jesus is a "friend" to sinners (as in caring for them and showing them His Love and telling them how to repent and be saved), but that sinners are not (as you said) His friends! Thanks for the explanation of that; many people need to hear that Truth!


PlanksandNails profile image

PlanksandNails 3 years ago from among the called out of the ekklesia of Christ Author

Brenda,

I am not of any man-made religious denomination. I do not go into "church," but I am the Church. I do no attend a building called "church," but attend with other brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ as the Church in various buildings and places. The ekklesia are the assembly that are called out, not into. The building known as "church" necessitates a man driven agenda. Outside the confines and restrictions of the the building necessitates the leading of the Holy Spirit and the functioning of everyone's gifts. Looking at the back of someones head on a pew and listening to the ramblings of a salaried pastor upon his podium suffocates the life out of me.

Thanks for your affirmation. God Bless.


lambservant profile image

lambservant 2 years ago from Pacific Northwest

I guess it all depends on what people mean by the word friend, eh? Jesus reached out to sinners to show them the way to the Father, not just for the sake of paling around and drinking and playing games. The Pharisees and other religious groups did not care about those kinds of people and looked on them with disdain.

The story about the pharisee and publican perfectly demonstrates the attitude of "religious" people. In one version the bible says the Pharisee "prayed thus with himself" and told himself under the pretense of talking to God how thankful he was not to be like others, then naming their sins.

I suspect you may classify the "modern church" as such, and I disagree, but since the topic here was specifically about Jesus I am just saying that Jesus loved and cared about sinners enough to sit with them and show them the way rather than go bowling with them or stand out on a street corner announcing His tithe or act of charity like the Pharisees. Interesting hub.


PlanksandNails profile image

PlanksandNails 2 years ago from among the called out of the ekklesia of Christ Author

Lambservant,

I would say friendship is having a relationship with a mutual bond.

I would classify the modern "church" as people who attend buildings that are run by men rather than by the leading of the Holy Spirit. I classify the true Church as people who are temples of the Holy Spirit who go where the Spirit leads them with the gifting God has given them. One is diametrically opposed to each other.

Thank-you for sharing your thoughts.

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