Here are the rules that Jesus wants us to follow. Good news you can use, and please forgive the presumption! I’m not saying, of course, that you have to follow these rules all perfectly to go to Heaven. But I think it makes a lot of sense for Christians to think about what Jesus wants and for a Christian blogsite to contain a list like this, don’t you? And I’m happy to report that the list is not mysterious.
1. Believe in Him (and in the Father and the Holy Spirit).
2. Repent. That’s His first imperative in Mark (1:14-15), and Matthew likewise says He began His ministry with this (4:17: “Repent and believe the good news!”); see also Luke 5:31.
3. Be baptized and take the Eucharist. This suggests that there will be a church — that is, that Christians will regularly meet together for worship and spiritual fellowship — and indeed Jesus says there will be a church. So I think this follows: Go to church (and otherwise engage in public worship).
4. Follow the Old Testament except where it is superseded by something in the New Testament. Jesus both explicitly and implicitly endorses the Law and the Prophets, but there are obviously some Old Testament rules that are explicitly or implicitly superseded by the New Testament (for example, the Perfect Sacrifice has now been made, once and for all, so animal sacrifices are obsolete).
5. But it’s not enough just to follow the law: Jesus demands “law plus.” Now, my original thought was to discuss what the “plus” is at the point in this post, but I think a fuller explanation will take more words that would fit appropriately here (you can read that fuller explanation here). So I’ll just say that the “plus” boils down in its essentials to two things — having the right attitude as well as the right actions, and humbly serving others before yourself, especially those less fortunate than you are, particularly the poor. I’ll also add that love is the key element here, as it is in throughout Jesus’ teachings. Here’s my “fuller explanation” of this law-plus point.
6. Act as He acted. I have a post that elaborates briefly on Jesus’ habits on this blogsite, and here are the highlights:
- Pray — with others and by yourself.
- Study the Bible and think about it.
- Evangelize. As for how He evangelized, see this post. See also Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 12:15-18 (the Great Commission). And in your evangelizing (and believing) don’t contradict His theology. I talk about that theology elsewhere on this blogsite (embedded links follow) as it is expressed in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. I’m not saying you have to be a theologian to evangelize, let alone to believe rightly; indeed, my discussion concludes that Jesus’ theology is unmysterious and straightforward.
- Be neither a hermit nor a social butterfly.
- Keep work in perspective.
- Take care of yourself physically.
- Don’t put yourself first.
I cannot point to a verse where Jesus says we should act as He did — though, to give a couple of examples from the bulleted list, He did teach us how to pray and gave us the Great Commission to evangelize — but it seems logical that He would want us to try at least to act as the one perfect man did.