Being conscious of the kind of company we keep is very important to our spiritual growth and well-being, which brings up the topic “Can I make friends with sinners?”
First of all, who is a sinner? A sinner is a person who has the nature of sin in him by default: that is someone who was born with the nature of sin.
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Romans 3:23 KJV
To leave this nature of sin is to have accepted the finished work of Christ, which is only possible by believing that Jesus Christ has died for one’s sin; accepting the fact and confessing him as one’s Lord and Saviour, also known as the “New Birth”.
After receiving this free gift of salvation, should we still make friends with sinners? Because based on the Word of God, anyone who has not experienced the above step is not yet free from the nature of sin which makes such a person a sinner.
To clarify my answer, I will share this scripture verse below:
In the letter that I wrote you, I told you not to associate with immoral people. Now I did not mean pagans who are immoral or greedy or are thieves or who worship idols. To avoid them you would have to get out of the world completely. What I meant was that you should not associate with a person who calls himself a believer but is immoral or greedy or worships idols or is a slanderer or a drunkard or a thief. Don’t even sit down to eat with such a person.
1 Corinthians 5:9-11 GNB
From the scripture above, we would realise that the relationship with two categories of sinners was addressed. First, an unbeliever who is a sinner, and a believer, who ought to have had the new birth experience but still sins.
As believers, what should be the basis on which we form relationships? Is it just for fun, or for the reason by which we were saved? Because our salvation also came along with a calling.
For the purpose of our calling which the scripture above is addressing, we ought to make friends with the first category of sinners while for the purpose of our spiritual stability, edification and growth, we are to avoid the second category of sinners.
The first category of sinners which is those who haven’t accepted the call to salvation pose no threat to our Christian journey but rather are meant to be hurdles to be passed. In fact, they are the ones we also ought to go out to look for in order to also bring them into the fold of the Saviour.
The second category of sinners are people we ought to watch out for so that they won’t draw us back into the damnation from which we have been saved.
So, when next you consider making friends, you should categorise them based on the word of God.
Also, remember that Jesus is a friend of sinners but he won’t leave them all by themselves without bringing them into the fold. Always bear this in mind as you make friends and ensure you don’t allow a wrong influence in your Christian journey.
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