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God's People are to be Friends With all People?

Discussion in 'Controversial Christian Theology' started by truthisfreedom2019, Jan 18, 2020.

  1. truthisfreedom2019

    truthisfreedom2019 New Member

    God's People are to be Friends With all People?

    A couple of very common misconceptions by some "Christians" today is that Jesus was friends with sinners and that we are to be friends with sinners. This is not true; he was only friends with all who would listen to his sin freeing words. He came to set his people free from sin, not to make people be buddies with one another.

    If we should not have a close friend like relationship with sinners, then why did Jesus eat with sinners? This is the same question which the scribes and the Pharisees asked Jesus. We will go to Jesus's answer in a moment.

    First of all, it is important to understand that these sinners did not want to be with Jesus for the sake of savoring the meal and company; they were there to hear Jesus's righteous words which would free them from sin….

    Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him. Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

    Luke 15:1‭-‬2

    When the scribes and Pharisees asked why Jesus eats with sinners, this was his answer...

    But when Jesus heard this, He said, “ It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire compassion , and not sacrifice ,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

    Matthew 9:12‭-‬13

    …Jesus told the scribes and Pharisees to learn the meaning of 'I desire compassion, and not sacrifice'. Here is the cross-reference in Hosea:

    What shall I do with you, O Ephraim? What shall I do with you, O Judah? For your loyalty is like a morning cloud And like the dew which goes away early. Therefore I have hewn them in pieces by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of My mouth; And the judgments on you are like the light that goes forth. (Jesus says that what Moses wrote accuses us and that the words he spoke judges us: John 5:45-47, John 12:48. The judgment is based on our deeds. Those whose deeds are evil love ignorance rather than knowing the way of righteousness but those who practice righteousness hate ignorance and are drawn to God's righteous words: John 3:19-21) For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, And in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. But like Adam they have transgressed the covenant; There they have dealt treacherously against Me.

    Hosea 6:4‭-‬7

    Examining the cross-reference makes it evident that God desires true loyalty. So that is what he means by desiring compassion, and not sacrifice; he wants people who, though they have sinned, they repent (have true remorse or regret about their sin) and, therefore, do not continue to walk in sin but are loyal to God. He does not want hypocritical people who "make things right" with burnt offerings and sacrifices. God is just (2Chronicles 7:14-16 is one small example), he has compassion for those who repent and become loyal and he forgives them.

    … So Jesus ate with "sinners" because they are the type of people whom he came to heal/free from sin. The true sinners (the scribes and Pharisees/hypocrites) did not have that same interest in his life-giving words which would free them from sin because they were not repentant like the tax collectors and "sinners". How can he heal those who are already 'well' (in their own words)?: John 9:41.

    Jesus treated all people fairly and with love by telling the way/truth to all who would listen. He was not friends or buddy's with those who did not listen. For example, he was not "buddies" with the hypocritical scribes and Pharisees but he did tell them the truth…

    “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell? For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ”

    Matthew 23:27‭, ‬33‭, ‬39

    These scribes and Pharisees were not buddies with Jesus even so much as to desire his death! They were Jesus's enemies but he still loved them and told them the truth. He knew that they were not children of God, however, because he was fair, he told them the truth so that they would not be in ignorance. He said that we should follow his example:

    But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

    Matthew 5:44‭-‬48

    Just because we tell others about God's righteous will does not make us friends with them, neither does it mean that we should be. We are not here to see how many friends we can be around but to do and share the same righteousness that Jesus did:

    A man of too many friends comes to ruin, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

    Proverbs 18:24

    Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.

    John 8:34‭, ‬36

    Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.”

    Luke 17:3‭-‬4

    “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed . If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.

    Matthew 18:15‭-‬18

    Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet.

    Matthew 10:14

    When talking about sharing the way (God's righteous way) with his lost people, Jesus says:

    “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.

    Matthew 10:34‭-‬39

    In another spot, Jesus mentions that only those who do his father's will are his family:

    While He was still speaking to the crowds, behold, His mother and brothers were standing outside, seeking to speak to Him. Someone said to Him, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You.” But Jesus answered the one who was telling Him and said, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.”

    Matthew 12:46‭-‬50

    Here are a few other verses on the topic:

    Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.

    2 John 1:9‭-‬11

    How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.

    Psalms 1:1‭-‬2

    I do not sit with deceitful men, Nor will I go with pretenders. I hate the assembly of evildoers, And I will not sit with the wicked.

    Psalms 26:4‭-‬5

    Do not enter the path of the wicked And do not proceed in the way of evil men. Avoid it, do not pass by it; Turn away from it and pass on. For they cannot sleep unless they do evil; And they are robbed of sleep unless they make someone stumble. For they eat the bread of wickedness And drink the wine of violence. But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, That shines brighter and brighter until the full day.

    Proverbs 4:14‭-‬18

    Better is open rebuke Than love that is concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.

    Proverbs 27:5‭-‬6

    Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another.

    Proverbs 27:17

    The thoughts of the righteous are just, But the counsels of the wicked are deceitful. The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood, But the mouth of the upright will deliver them.

    Proverbs 12:5‭-‬6

    Do not associate with a man given to anger; Or go with a hot-tempered man, Or you will learn his ways And find a snare for yourself.

    Proverbs 22:24‭-‬25

    He who keeps the law is a discerning son, But he who is a companion of gluttons humiliates his father.

    Proverbs 28:7

    Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.

    John 15:13‭-‬15

    An unjust man is abominable to the righteous, And he who is upright in the way is abominable to the wicked.

    Proverbs 29:27

    He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will suffer harm.

    Proverbs 13:20

    ….So we can not be buddies with just anyone. Some people simply would not want to be our friends because they do not want to hear our righteousness council. There are others who we do not want to be friends with because they would be a danger to us (friends influence one another).

    In short, it is right to be kind and to help those who take the help,but we can not have a close friend like relationship with true sinners (those who hate God's justice and righteousness [John 3:20], who teach in opposition with abiding in Christ’s teaching [2 John 1:9‭-‬11], who know the truth but would rather be in ignorance because they DO NOT WANT TO PRACTICE IT [John 3:19-21]).
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  2. SkyWriting

    SkyWriting The Librarian Supporter

    United States
    We are to treat others as we would wish to be treated.

    That's not so much a misconception....as a fact.
    If you don't want to be treated in as a friend, just say so up front.
    We will do what we can to accommodate.
  3. Gracia Singh

    Gracia Singh Newbie Supporter

    United States
    I think there is a point here which is important; be careful who you get close to. As a brand-new Christian, kind of bubbly and stupid, I thought it was my Christian responsibility to become friends with everyone, and to befriend everyone.

    This lead to some very weird and difficult dynamics, some apparent friendships which fell apart, and a lot of disappointment and eventual angst on my part. What was going on? Shouldn't I love everyone? Why isn't this working?

    What I have slowly and painfully learned is to have few friends. Treat people kindly. Treat people with respect and charity. But don't give your heart away to everyone. Don't try to be everyone's friend. God does not ask us to do this, and attempting to do this could lead to problems.
  4. HTacianas

    HTacianas Well-Known Member

    United States
    Eastern Orthodox
    That Jesus associated with sinners is probably one of the most abused teachings of the bible.

    The Pharisees of the day discounted Jesus because he ate and drank with sinners. In their view those sinners were beyond hope and were "lost". They had lost their place in the world to come and could not regain it. They were so far gone that they could not be justified under the law of Moses.

    But Jesus offered them a second chance at the world to come and even said "all sins will be forgiven...", something the Pharisees thought impossible. But as Paul said in Acts regarding baptism:

    Act 13:39 - “and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.

    Jesus offered that second chance to the lost, provided that they repent. As he said to the adulterss, "...go, and sin no more".

    People nowadays spin that to mean that Jesus never told the woman "..sin no more", but that Jesus was perfectly fine with the woman continuing in adultery. That is not the case.
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  5. StephenDiscipleofYHWH

    StephenDiscipleofYHWH Well-Known Member

    United States
    We as Christians are to be hated of the world and those in it(Matt 5:11, 10:22; Mark 13:13; Luke 6:22-23, 21:17,12; John 15:18-19, 17:14; 1 John 3:13, 4:5; 1 Peter 4:4,12,14, 2:12) and if all men speak well of us then we are doing something very wrong(Luke 6:26). We are not friends of the world(James 4:4) nor with those who work unrighteousness(Eph 5:11-13) but still we should be kind and love all men saved and damned alike and pray for them(1 Tim 2:1; John 13:35).
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  6. raindog75

    raindog75 New Member

    United States
    Yeah. But the thing is, last time I checked, none of us are Jesus. We ourselves are also sinners and we were also told by Jesus on the Sermon on the Mount that we need to remove the plank from our own eye before removing the speck from our neighbor's. I understand this as making the point that, as it pertains to sin, much of our attention should be focused squarely on our own sin, and also that we are to regard our sin as greater than our neighbor's. Paul also said in 1 Timothy 1:15, "Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst."

    Yes, we should be careful who we maintain as close friends, but it seems to me we need to maintain humility when engaging with other's sin, being mindful of our own as well. You refer to "true sinners" in your post. As opposed to what? Are we not all on some level "true sinners"? Yes, there are some people who actively agitate against God/Christian teachings, and perhaps it is best to maintain a certain distance. But for many people it's a little too clean to divide them into these us vs. them, "true sinner" vs...um...not true sinner? categories and I think rather lets us a little too easily off the hook. As sinners, we all in some level at some point or another act in rebellion against God. In recognizing that, we are more likely to approach a friend with humility and an awareness of our own brokenness. Maintaining that stance, we're also more likely to actually be heard by them.

    Jesus also established relationships with people, often engaging in table fellowship with them. Are we prepared to do that? Or shall we instead just swoop down with a couple mini-sermons and then promptly shake the dust of our feet when we're not immediately thanked for our words of wisdom. And are we prepared to have our sins pointed out to us? Often as Christians we're happy to point out the faults in others but positively bristle if one is identified in us.

    Just a few thoughts...
  7. Leet

    Leet Newbie

    God calls us to love everyone, not befriend everyone. I can see the difference.
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  8. Sal Robinson

    Sal Robinson Member Supporter

    I really Loved this post.. it's a message that needs to be heard more! <3
  9. Oscarr

    Oscarr Senior Veteran Supporter

    New Zealand
    There is a good reason for having friendships with the unsaved. To show them our testimony in Christ and to share the gospel with them. The unsaved will read us before they will read the Bible. If we never mix with them socially, how are they going to see our lives in Christ?

    There is only one type of person that we should never socialise or fellowship with under any circumstances, that that is someone who professes Christianity but is living and behaving in an hypocritical manner. For example, a professing Christian who is a drunkard, engages in immorality, riotous behaviour or any other action that would bring the Christian church into disrepute. We are to separate ourselves from such people, not invite them into our homes, nor eat with them.

    The reason for this is to show them that because of their hypocrisy, they are spiritually separate from the body of Christ, with the hope that their conscience will cause them to re-evaluate their conduct and come to repentance. Once they have repented and shown the fruits of repentance, they should immediately be welcomed back into fellowship.

    But the unsaved are not hypocrites. They are lost souls who need to hear the gospel and to see the love of Christ through the fruit of the Spirit flowing out of us. They are not going to see it while we shut ourselves away in church and never mix with them.
  10. faroukfarouk

    faroukfarouk Fading curmudgeon

    There are many ways to show unbelievers some personal sympathy and friendliness, for the sake of the Gospel.
  11. faroukfarouk

    faroukfarouk Fading curmudgeon

    @Oscarr PS: Unlike the Reformed constituency, I do by God's grace believe that the Gospel, rather than the law, is the rule of the believer's life, which surely implies seeking to influence for good - in a sympathetic way - unbelieving friends.
  12. Oscarr

    Oscarr Senior Veteran Supporter

    New Zealand
    I agree.
    It is now midnight here in upsidedownland, and my coach has turned into a pumpkin, so I'm off to bed!
  13. faroukfarouk

    faroukfarouk Fading curmudgeon

    Have a good night, Sir!