A group of young women bow their heads and pray with bibles.

Was Jesus Friends With Sinners? These scriptures say NO.

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I’m so tired of hearing the phrases “Jesus hung out with sinners” and “Jesus ate with sinners” or “Jesus was inclusive” and “Jesus didn’t judge“. Because none of that holds a single ounce of truth. Despite what you’ve been told, despite what you’ve read, Jesus was not friends with the sinner.

The dictionary describes the word friend as someone who is on good terms with another, a member of the same nation or party, a supporter, or a person associated with another by reason of contact. The problem is that none of these describe the relationship that Christ has with the sinner.

The sinner is not on ‘good terms’ with God. Psalms 5:4 says “thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness:“. Very plainly, God says that He isn’t pleased with the sinner.

A group of young women bow their heads and pray with bibles.

Matthew 25 says that the righteous will inherit life eternal (Heaven) but the sinner everlasting punishment (Hell). If the sinner goes to Hell but Christ resides in Heaven, then you are not of the same nation. Isaiah 59:2a. says “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God” If sin separates you from God, then you are not of the same party.

Isaiah 59:2b says “your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” If God doesn’t hear you, then you then there is no contact between you. Matthew 7:23 says to those who do iniquity, He will command them to leave His presence because He does not know you. If sin causes God to not know you, then He doesn’t support you.

See, Jesus didn’t invite himself to sit with ‘publicans and sinners’. During this time, Gentiles were all considered sinners and tax collectors were hated and thus denounced as the same- even if they tried to live right. But, Matthew 9:11 states that He sat down in Matthew’s house and the Gentiles and tax collectors followed and joined Him.

Large group of people stand with thier arms around each other and backs to the camera in unity.

Still, Jesus did not call himself a friend to these people. He referred to Himself as a physician, a doctor sent to nurse them to a new and full life outside of the binds of sin. People flocked after Christ because of the change that He offered, sinners thronged Christ because of the life that He lived.

He openly invited the sinner to take part in His life to experience the change that He could bring them, not because He enjoyed their company. His only mission was to save the lost. Luke 14:33 says “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

Each person that came in contact with Him left changed. He wasn’t just an addition to their routine, “go and sin no more” (John 8:11) meant change is involved. They desired a different life, and they knew He was the answer, even at the hands of suffering His reproof in exchange for eternal life.

So Christ didn’t eat with the sinners, they ate with Him.

Yet in their presence, He never once shied away from rebuking their sin- which means He was not an inclusive God. He called men of all walks to be His disciples (pupils), but told them that they must turn from their sin to be associated with this walk. He judged them with righteous judgment.

He turned the tables in the tabernacle, reminded men of their sin at the adulterer’s stoning, told the woman at the well all she had done, commanded the rich man to sell all that He had, He rebuked Peter, He scolded the disciples, He condemned the religious, He said sinners will not enter Heaven.

The word very much tells us to come as you are, with all your pain and your sin and your burdens; but leave changed, leave as a new creature, let old things (sin) pass away and become new (new life in Christ). Take your burdens to the Lord and leave them there at His feet, pick up your cross and follow Him.

He is God and we are His people. He is The Great Shepherd and we are the sheep of His pasture. He embodies every characteristic of a friend, but He is still the ruler of the world. He is still almighty, all-powerful, and all Holy. He is still the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. There is no nonchalant relationship with Him.

Young multicultural women holding hands while praying

James 4:4 says “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.” and Romans 12 says love genuinely, hate sin, hold to right, and if possible live peaceably.

This means that we are to show love no matter who or what or where. It means that we must be like Christ and we must follow His example. Hate sin, loathe it, but be compassionate to the sinner. Be a light in a lost and dying world by staying true to His word. Fervently stand for Christ but in love and intentions of peace.

The Bible says that He is a friend that sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24). But He is this for the believer. John 15:13 says “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends“. But He died for the broken.


Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” John 15:14 If your life does not align with the regulations of Christ, then you are no friend to Him. This singularity of mind, of fellowship, and of commitment, is the binding factor that ties you to a relationship with Christ.

Jesus was not friends with sinners, Jesus is not a friend to sinners- and this remains true today.


  1. If Jesus was a friend of sinners, he would also be a drunkard and glutton. Also John the baptist would be a devil. These are all false accusations made by the Pharisees. In Matthew 11:19, Jesus says “they say” these things about him but they are untrue! What Christian would go around making the same false accusations about their Lord and Savior just as the Pharisees did and then call it a matter of semantics? We need to watch what we are saying and believing!

    In John 15:14, Jesus is very specific when describing his friends. His friends were his disciples! According to Christ they were his disciples because they were doing what he commanded, what the Father had revealed to him he had revealed to them and he had chosen them (vs 15-16). Jesus CHOOSES his friends! All of these specifics made by Jesus about who his friends are make phrase “friend of sinners” too vague anyway. And last his command was that his disciple love one another.

  2. I get the point your trying to make. Except he did eat with them. It doesn’t matter if they followed Him, he stayed and ate with them. It’s semantics; He stayed and dined with them, that’s what got Him called a friend of tax collectors and sinners by the Pharisee. The fact is he did come to and for the sinner (Matthew 9:13). Him chooses to step out of heaven is Him choosing to come to us. And technically speaking, every one of the disciples were sinners (unchanged, but being changed – most were unchanged for a lot of the three years, some right up to His crucifixion). He called them friends who were closer than brothers. Again, I get what you’re getting at… I suppose that using those catch phrases as an excuse to be “light” on sin could be a problem, but we can’t through the baby out with the bath water. Being in the world, and being friends with real people who really need Jesus, is a real thing. Jesus said the world’s sin is unbelief in Him. I bet we’d gain a ton of ground with unbelievers if we focused more on that need than their need to act right. Maybe be their friend and tell them about your friend, Jesus.

    1. There’s a difference between the reformed sinner and the sinner who continually commits sin. This post was aimed at the sinner living in sin claiming that Christ approves of His sin- this is untrue. He was continually surrounded by people who wanted to hear what He had to say, and not partaking in the conversation or the lifestyle of sin. I think there is a fine line when it comes to being a friend of the world, especially considering the Bible tells us not to. I do believe in serving the sinner and shining a light on them through friendship, however what is the premise of our friendship? Are we partaking in sinful lifestyles to shed a light towards Christ? Is our conversation condemning Christ or enlightening towards Him? Do we feel shame when we are there or proud to be a representative of Christ? Are we doing it for our own gain, or the gain of Christ? Association doesn’t always mean friendship.

  3. At what point do you think God started loving you, only after you came to know Christ?

    Do you believe Jesus didn’t love you before you accepted him as Savior?

    If he didn’t, why would you care for him?

    And if he did, how can you say he isn’t a friend of sinners?

    What do you make of passages such as Jeremiah 31:3 in which the Lord declares, “I have loved you with an everlasting love”? Do you think he loved us, yet could not be called a friend to us?

    And what about the rich young ruler–although he rejects Jesus’ direction, the Scriptures tell us Jesus looked at him and loved him. Was that not friendship on Jesus’ part?

    You say Jesus did NOT invite himself to dine with sinners, but of course he did exactly that with Zacchaeus . Or is it your contention that Jesus invited himself to dinner at Zacchaeus’ home not because he loved the wee little man, but ONLY because of his mission to “save the lost,” as you say?

    But what kind of person does that make Jesus? Suppose a new acquaintance of ours did that to us – he saw us on the street, he invited himself to our home under the guise that he really just liked us and wanted to get to know us, then he ate our food and unfolded his real agenda, perhaps trying to get us to convert to Islam…

    Would we like that? Or would we think that guy was a double dealing so-And-so pretended to like us so that he could get us to do what he wanted us to do. We would not think that was worthy of friendship in the least. And yet that is how you seem to be casting Jesus’ relationship with people when he walked this earth.

    Are you seriously suggesting that he merely appeared to befriend the lowlifes and sinners so that he could get them to conform to his agenda? Are you saying that he had no real love for them until they did what he wanted? We would not want to be friends with a person like that. Why would we accept it in the Savior?

    Perhaps I am misunderstanding your point, but it seems to me unless you are willing to accept that Jesus loves you no matter what your state of grace, that he is a friend of sinners and of saints, you will never be able to extend grace to others–because you don’t see Jesus’ doing it, so you don’t think you should have to. And indeed, if that’s how you see Jesus, then you are right.

    But for me, I know that he loved me, as Ephesians 2 says, even when I was dead in my sins and trespasses. So I can be glad to know that he is a friend to me, and to all sinners. I hope you may feel the same way someday.

    1. Where have you gathered that love defines friendship? The Bible tells us to love everyone, but it also says to mark those among you that cause division and stay away from them- that doesn’t mean stop loving them. It means protect your heart and soul from those who may try to stray you away from Christ.
      The Bible says that He loved me from the beginning of time, He loves me despite my circumstances. But that doesn’t mean that He considers me a friend. The scripture in Jeremiah that you have referenced is actually Him talking to Jeremiah, one who is saved- thus can be considered a friend. Furthermore, the scripture actually says “therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn thee”. Which means that Christ draws the sinner with love and kindness; which still does not mean friendship, it indicates association.
      The rich young ruler- once again, love does not mean friendship.
      I think you’ve taken the premise of the post too literal. By eating with sinners, this was meant to say that Christ had a purpose to be there and didn’t deny His convictions or mission to do so. He didn’t sit and listen to dirty jokes or partake in sinful lifestyle to be a light. He sat with them for purpose and it was respected. So yes, Christ dwelt with the sinners in a manner that they wanted to be with Him for His teaching, not to partake in their lifestyle.
      Jesus’ mission to save the lost was accompanied by a love for all people. With Zaccheaus, this is no different. Christ seen the dedication that the wee man had to see Him for who He was, and wanted to be that light unto Him. I believe completely that this was part of Christ’s mission to save the lost.
      To seek and to save that which was lost was Christ’s only reason for coming, this is what the Bible says. I’mm not suggesting it, it’s fact. His love for us to miss hell and partake in Heaven was His agenda. Whether you agree with that or not, it’s Biblical.
      I think you are completely misunderstanding. Love does not mean friendship. I can love someone without ever speaking with them. I can love someone without ever partaking in their life. But just because I show love, or grace, or mercy, or kindness, this does not mean that I have a relationship with said individual. Jesus extended love when He came to Earth. Each time I give to the needy or serve my community, I am doing the same. We are commanded to do these things, but not just because it’s good- but because we want to shed a light on Christ. Our only mission on this Earth is to serve Christ, which means living lives that point back to Him. Even if that seems like an “agenda”.

    2. To Love someone doesnt mean you want to be friends with them. Friendship is establishing a relationship, love is a feeling. It is possible to love someone and not have a relationship with the person.

    1. Perhaps the problem with the world and todays church is our compromise. The bible says you cannot partake of the lords table and the devils table, you cannot partake of the lords cup and the cup of devils. Multiple times in scripture it says set yourselves apart. Go and sin no more. And the idea that the church and world understand is that we are sinners saved, but this isnt quite right. We are Saints. We are told to fight sin. To put on the armor of God. How much sin is taken lightly but how much God hates it! Shall we sin that grace abound? God forbid! Would our world be different if we cared less about offending people and more about offending god? The reason for many of the letters that we have in the bible was because THEY STILL SINNED. They had to be instructed to not do these evils. Evil and sin are one and it will never be ok in the sight of God. Remember God says I desire obedience not sacrifice. Be well whoever reads this, Gods word will not return unto him void.

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