19 The Son of Man [Jesus] came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners. But wisdom is proved right by her actions.”
(It makes me chuckle when I read “tax collectors and sinners”. Were they a special kind of sinner? In the US, the tax collectors are employees of the IRS(Internal Revenue Service))
Jesus was accused of being a friend of tax collectors and sinners. Christians are called to be followers of Jesus. Most of the Christian church judges and condemns sinners, which is not a friendly attitude. How can we be friends with sinners and not be friendly?
24 A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.
How do we serve a Holy God and still be friends with the sinners? The answer is in Romans 12.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
We are not called to look and act like the world but to look and act like Jesus. Jesus was a friend of sinners. The oral arguments for same-sex marriage were presented to the US Supreme Court this week. This decision will decide if gays have a legal right to marry in all 50 states and to receive the same benefits as heterosexual couples. The Christian response has not been Christ-like. The first amendment of our constitution guarantees not only freedom of speech and religion but also the freedom to be stupid and ignorant.
Since homosexuality is a sin (Romans 1:26-27) then we are called to be a friend to liars, gossipers, thiefs, murderers, and yes, homosexuals.
1 Timothy 1
15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
16 However, for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.
Why did Jesus befriend the sinners? So that they could be saved. He etched the pattern for us. With extreme patience, we befriend the sinners so that they can be saved. The pattern is not to condemn and judge the sinners from afar and tell them they are going to hell. The pattern is
- Show yourself friendly to a sinner.
- Become friends with a sinner.
- Save your friend, a sinner.