"Ye are my friends, IF ye do whatsoever I command you." John 15:14
There are many popular sayings in the churchworld and often they have no basis in truth. One such saying is that "Jesus is a friend to sinners."
friend: a person attached to another by feelings of affection, liking, and loyalty; a supporter or ally; a person who is on good terms with another; a person who is not hostile.Does Scripture support the belief that God is a friend of sinners? No! Yet many - unknowingly it seems - espouse such things, even while considering themselves a "Christian". They have forged a god based on their own imaginations who is nothing like the God of Scripture; so much so that the character of the true God offends them.
Much of the Christian contemporary music scene undergirds the image of this false god; an idol that feels really warm and fuzzy to man, but is based in falsehood. One such song is "God is Not a White Man" by Gungor, which we reviewed in a previous article. Recently, someone contested this article by claiming that God is a friend to all and He loves everyone. Afterall, don't we know that Jesus is a friend to sinners?
In the text of John 15:14, Jesus defines exactly who His friends are: those who obey Him. Do sinners obey God? No. They are by definition "children of disobedience" (Ephesians 2:2, 5:6; Colossians 3:6). Technically, we could end the discussion right there. Jesus makes it abundantly clear who qualifies to be His friend. However, let's look at why Jesus is not a friend of sinners and where this idea comes from.
"Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth." John 9:31
God doesn't even hear sinners. Yet people want to claim that God is still a friend to sinners?? The saying that Jesus is a "friend to sinners" was not a teaching from God. Consider the absurdity of such a statement and its source.
friend of sinners" as a way to discredit Him before the people (Matthew 9:11, 11:19; Luke 5:30, 7:34, 15:1-2, 19:7).
The Jews knew that God was not a friend of the unrighteous, but that He was angry with the wicked "every day" and "hears not" sinners (Job 27:8-9; Micah 3:4; Psalm 7:11; 66:18; Proverbs 15:8, 29; Isaiah 1:15, 59:2).
They were accusing Jesus of having fellowship with darkness, which would make Him a partaker of that darkness (II Corinthians 6:14-18).
These same religious leaders also claimed that Jesus was Beelzebub and operating under the power of Satan. Should we lay claim to these statements as being true as well? So understand that claiming Jesus to be a "friend of sinners" was intended to disparage His righteousness. Yet, the question remains, is such a statement true?
"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
"Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." Romans 8:7
If God is a friend to sinners - and we know that all have sinned - then He can logically have no enemies. Jesus being a friend of sinners requires that God is all sinners' friend.
However, these leaders knew that there was a difference in Jesus' interactions which excluded them and welcomed others. While Jesus was inviting to others, He was decidedly unfriendly to them (Matthew 3:7, 12:34, 23:1-38, 15:1-3, 15:14; Mark 7:5-7; Luke 3:7; John 2:15, 8:44).
Why was this? Because the religious leaders failed to bring forth fruit for repentance (Matthew 3:8; Mark 2:17; Luke 3:3-8, 5:32, 15:7). It is the quality of repentance that makes a sinner able to be received by God. Remember the two thieves on the cross. They were both sinners, but only one received salvation/fellowship with Christ.
"But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." Matthew 9:13
Repentance is not a one time act or being sorry for a particular sin. True repentance is a turning of the heart so that we can see sin as God does. We are acknowledging that we must forsake sinful ways - all of them - and not pursue sin, but pursue righteousness. True repentance is seen in an attitude that abhors sin.
Jesus was not a friend to sinners, for even the religious leaders were sinners. He was a friend to those who acknowledged their sinful state and obeyed His call to repent. This is why the Scriptures say that Jesus was "separate from sinners" (Hebrews 7:26). The word separate here (the Greek word chōrizō) means "to separate, divide, part, put asunder, to separate one's self from, to depart."
The world (and even much of the churchworld) likes to paint a picture of Jesus cozying up to sinners as their best friend, but that is not a picture which Scripture supports. Jesus is only a friend to those who obey Him (John 15:14). He draws near only to the humble.
God has mercy on all, including sinners, but only gives grace to the humble. And salvation - through which we are reconciled with God and made His friend - comes by grace. Apart from repentance from sin, we are enemies of God and still in need of reconciliation and salvation from God.
"For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life." Romans 5:10
What is so wrong with portraying God as a friend to sinners?
- It is a message that Jesus never taught.
- It is at odds with the Scripture.
- It turns men into Pharisees and Saducees.
In reading this, some might say, "But I am a sinner!" Then my only answer for you is that you need to repent.
You are not a friend of God if still in sin (Psalm 5:4-6; II Corinthians 6:14-16; Matthew 7:23-24; John 12:46; I John 1:6, 2:4).
The Good News to sinners is NOT that Jesus is your friend, but that you no longer have to be a slave to sin (Romans 6:1-22, 8:2-13; I John 3:8-10). You can be changed, and through that change you can be made a friend of God.
Gungor - the group which sings the blasphemous song "God is Not a White Man" had a BIG hit in recent years with the song "I am a Friend of God". Who is a friend of God? To whom is this song directed? According to "God is Not a White Man" it is the atheists, charlatans, communists, lesbians, and terrorists...just to name a few.
Do you not see the web that is being woven, the anti-christ agenda being promoted? Are we so blind that we cannot perceive the false gospel used in these songs in order to blind people to their only hope of salvation from the world and from Hell?
Oh how the world perverts the things of God. We now have a Christian "god" promoted in song and in worship in churches all across the world who is no God at all, but works to destroy the very essence of who God is. The modern-day Pharisee is not the one calling sinners to repentance, but those claiming that such don't need to repent!
Let your message be the message of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Let you words be the first words of the Gospel. All else is false and the preaching of "another Jesus" (II Corinthians 11:4).
"Whoso walketh uprightly shall be saved: but he that is perverse in his ways shall fall at once." Proverbs 28:18