The Criteria for Being a Christian

By: Dr Eliezer Gonzalez

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37–40, NIV).

We have a natural human tendency to categorise everything as true or false, good or bad, and yours or mine. And then, even worse, we use that to build walls between others and ourselves. We put people into little boxes.

Jesus taught that in the Kingdom life, it must not be like that (Matthew 12:48). Jesus taught that the greatest commandment is to love God, and the second is to love your neighbour as yourself (Matthew 22:37–40). Jesus puts God above all, and everyone else is on a level playing field.

Christ never made total uniformity in doctrinal understanding or perfect faith to be the criteria for being his disciple. If so, none of the original twelve disciples would have made it. Rather he said that the criterion was love (John 13:35). And the love of God does not exalt or puff itself up (1 Corinthians 13:4), Those who share this love will never consider themselves closer to God or more favoured by him than those who belong to another Christian group.

We should fellowship in a Christian church according to our understanding of that truth as found in the Word, and as the Spirit of God convicts our conscience. However, let’s do that knowing that all those who love Christ are our brothers and sisters.

Do you know some people who are Christians, but not part of your denomination or church? Invite them over to your place for a meal. Spend some time praying together for each other.

Article supplied with thanks to Dr Eliezer Gonzalez.

About the Author: Dr Eli Gonzalez is the Senior Pastor of Good News Unlimited and the presenter of the Unlimited radio spots, and The Big Question.

Feature image: Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash.