A Friend of Christ and a Friend of Sinners

You and I are friends of sinners. This is a work of God. This work is manifested as we agree to be one with Him. God has a passion for souls, we enter into His passion, we do not produce that passion ourselves. His desire does not wear out or get turned aside, therefore, we are able to be steadfast in our love for the lost.


Jesus was deliberately a friend of sinners; is this also a deliberate choice on our part? Other people recognized that He was such a friend, is it obvious this is true of us? By His life in you and I, the friendship is within us. We agree by faith one person after another: loving people that we are just first meeting because the love is in us and the desire of the Holy Spirit directs it from us.


Jesus described this friendship in Luke 10:33-37 (NASV) “But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, “Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.” Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers hands? And he said, the one who showed mercy toward him. Then Jesus said to him, go and do the same.”


The Samaritan in the story decided to be friendly, it was not forced upon him; it was a choice. The Samaritan did many practical things to express the friendship: he not only set aside his finances for this stranger he had just met, but he set aside his schedule also.


Jesus spoke this parable as an example to be imitated. By this parable Jesus has told us that we are able to be friends to those in need. Jesus did not make it complicated, we make decisions to meet others needs before we satisfy our desires, that is friendship. Jesus said to do this. Why would He be so direct to instruct us this way? Because the life that lives this way has been made our life, and the love that carries out this friendship has been lavished upon us and within us by Christ, His Father, and their Spirit.


Christ is not passive about His friendship, He seeks out those to befriend and sends us to do the same. In John 15: 15,16a (NASV) He says, “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. You did not choose Me, but I chose you…” By the life of Christ we are able to choose to be a friend to someone before they choose to be friends with us. God has made us ready for this by Christ’s example, His instruction, and by the guidance and quickening of the Holy Spirit.


Those we befriend need to hear what we have heard from Christ; it is an act of friendship to tell them. We love people with the word of God. It is deliverance to them just as the Samaritan’s care was deliverance to the man who had been beaten and robbed. By God’s definition we are friends to those we give the gospel of Christ to.


You and I are able to introduce people to friends we already have; that is what we are doing when we introduce people to Jesus Christ. What a delightful way of meeting people and interacting with them: friendship offered in wisdom and kindness and compassion without self-righteousness! We invite people into friendships that include Christ. Those kinds of friendships open doors to joy, peace, and love.


— Excerpt from “Living The Gospel,” to be published fall of this year —





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