…said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
Mark 2:16 ESV
When we come to faith, we say we no longer live and Christ lives in us. We become ambassadors for Christ. We represent Him. We are no longer our own. We call ourselves by the name of Jesus. Our identity is in Christ.
Jesus wasn’t hanging out with sinners. Sin separates from God. We read about the necessity of cleansing from the guilt of sin even when it was done unintentionally.
“When he realizes his guilt in any of these and confesses the sin he has committed, he shall bring to the Lord his compensation for the sin…And the priest shall make atonement for him for his sin.”
Leviticus 5:5-6 ESV
Jesus welcomes all, but those in His fellowship have a different identity. They are followers of Christ. Christians are saints, not sinners, a holy priesthood. When we come to Christ, we need to stop identifying with our old sin nature and identity ourselves with the risen Christ. We are no longer to be called sinners. That’s not who we are.