Updated Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2002

Basic Christian Requirements


Sub-headings:

Obedience, for Starters
The Greatest Commandment
Everyone Has Sin
The 4 Essential Commandments of Behavior
Not Accepting Jesus For Who He Is

Make Disciples, Be Baptized
The "9" Commandments
Sexual Commandments
Some Legal Precedents on Sex Crimes
Other Various Commandments
Seek Unity, Avoid Divisions


Related Articles

Obedience, for Starters
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John 14:15 If you love Me, keep My commandments.

John 14:21 He that has My commandments and keeps them, it is that one who loves Me; and the one that loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I shall love him and will reveal Myself to him.

John 15:10 If you keep My commandments you will continue in My love, as I have kept My Father's commandments and continue in His love.

John 15:14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.


The Greatest Commandment
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Matthew 22:36 Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law? 37 And Jesus said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind." [Deut. 6:5] 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." [Lev. 19:18] 40 On these two commandments all the Law and the Prophets hang.

John 13:34 I give a new commandment to you, that you should love one another; according as I loved you, you should also love one another. 35 By this all shall know that you are My disciples, if you have love among one another.

John 15:12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I loved you. 13 Greater love than this has no one, that anyone should lay down his soul for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 I no longer call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his lord does. But I called you friends, because all things which I heard from My Father I made known to you. 16 You have not chosen Me, but I chose you out and planted you, that you should go and should bear fruit, and your fruit remain, that whatever you should ask the Father in My name, He may give you. 17 These things I command you, that you love one another.

Romans 13:9 For, "Do not commit adultery," "do not murder," "do not steal," do not bear false witness, "do not lust," [Ex. 20:13-15, 17] and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this word: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." [Lev. 19:18]

1 John 2:3 And by this we may be sure that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 He who says "I know him" but disobeys his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly love for God is perfected. By this we may be sure that we are in him: 6 he who says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

1 John 2:7 Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment which you had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard. 8 Yet I am writing you a new commandment, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. 9 He who says he is in the light and hates his brother is in the darkness still. 10 He who loves his brother abides in the light, and in it there is no cause for stumbling. 11 But he who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

1 John 3:10 By this it may be seen who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not do right is not of God, nor he who does not love his brother. 11 For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, 12 and not be like Cain who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother's righteous.

1 John 3:23 And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 All who keep his commandments abide in him, and he in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit which he has given us.

1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God; for God is love.

1 John 4:20 If any one says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him, that he who loves God should love his brother also.

1 John 3:17 But if any one has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth.

1 John 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.

2 John 1:5 And now I beg you, lady, not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning, that we love one another. 6 And this is love, that we follow his commandments; this is the commandment, as you have heard from the beginning, that you follow love.

As you can see from the many above scriptures, I don't think there is another commandment so well testified to as love, both of brother and neighbor. Most religions do not emphasize this and that is how you know they are not from God. Because love is emphasized more than any other commandment. As Jesus pointed out, all of the law and the prophets rests on this one command.


Everyone Has Sin
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1 John 1:8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Romans 5:12 Because of this, even as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, so also death passed to all men, inasmuch as all sinned.

You would think this was elementary and would be well understood by the many Christians who loudly proclaim it to us all. Yet, when it comes right down to it, they expect and demand perfection, which none are able to give if these scriptures are right. So while some preach in word, they contradict themselves with other words. But we all sin continually every day. But thanks to the sacrifice of Jesus, we can be forgiven according to how much we overlook and tolerate in others. For Jesus says that we will be judged by the same standard with which we judge others. Matthew 7:2 for with whatever judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with whatever measure you measure, it will be measured again to you.

So while we know the Bible standards are very high, we also know we never meet them and never could. We, if we love our brothers, should not expect that they can, either. With this in mind, we should be tolerant of the more trivial sins, which are much harder to root out or control, any way. That is why the next section follows this one.


The 4 Essential Commandments of Behavior
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(RSV) Acts 15:19 Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God, 20 but should write to them to abstain from the pollutions of idols and from unchastity and from what is strangled and from blood.

(GLT) Acts 15:19 For this reason I judge not to trouble those from the nations turning to God, 20 but to write to them to hold back from the pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and that strangled, and blood.

(GLT) Acts 15:23 The apostles and the elders and the brothers, to those throughout Antioch, and Syria, and Cilicia, brothers from the nations: Greeting. 24 Since we heard that some of us having gone out have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, Be circumcised and keep the Law, to whom we gave no command;

28 For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to put not one greater burden on you than these necessary things: 29 To hold back from idol sacrifices, and blood, and that strangled, and from fornication; from which continually keeping yourselves, you will do well. Be prospered.

 

There are many commandments and many more principles that could make us question many activities and behaviors such as our choice in music, movies, etc. But Ecclesiastes 7:16 warns us not to get too preoccupied with righteousness and law for it can be disastrous and bring much ruin and destruction in people's lives.

(RSV) 16 Be not righteous overmuch, and do not make yourself overwise; why should you destroy yourself? 17 Be not wicked overmuch, neither be a fool; why should you die before your time?

Too much righteousness is not appropriate. It says so right there in the Bible. Of course, too much wickedness is also quite inappropriate. Balance is the key. There is much about our world that is not right and there is nothing we can do about it. We live in it and it will affect us to some degree. We can't really avoid it. That is why we have to tolerate a certain amount of sin. We can not escape it as it permeates and saturates everything around us. People who insist on absolute righteousness are not practical and have no love for others. Below are two alternate renderings of verse 16 for your interpretation.

(GLT) 16 Do not be too much righteous, nor make yourself overly wise; why destroy yourself?

(BBE) 16 Be not given overmuch to righteousness and be not over-wise. Why let destruction come on you?

In addition, the elders and apostles make it clear that it is not necessary for the nations, the gentiles, as some put it, to observe the law. I will cover this in much more detail in article, Modern Day Judaizers. The law was fulfilled and terminated with a new covenant paid in blood. Anyone who commands you to follow the law is an apostate and a heretic.


Not Accepting Jesus For Who He Is
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1 John 2:22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. He who confesses the Son has the Father also.

1 John 4:2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit which does not confess Jesus is not of God. This is the spirit of antichrist, of which you heard that it was coming, and now it is in the world already.

2 John 1:7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, men who will not acknowledge the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh; such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.

Many people are confused and claim that Christ came, both as fully God and fully man. Well, ya can't have your cake and eat it, too. He can't be fully God and fully man. For one, one can not look at God and continue to live. Second, God is a spirit, not physical flesh. Third, it was not a god that sinned, it was a man, Adam, and it must be a man of perfection that must be sacrificed to correspond to Adam. So it was necessary that Christ come in the flesh. It was necessary that he be tested in the flesh. If he were tested as a god, how fair would that be? Satan would have had a fit and protested in the extreme. What extraordinary thing would it be for a god to resist temptation. What a joke. He certainly was full of the spirit but so were Elijah and Elishah and they resurrected people, too. I will talk more about this in my article on the trinity. But the scriptures are plain and direct. Jesus came in the flesh. He who denies this is a liar, deceiver, and antichrist. He does not know God or the Bible. You either have both the Father and the Son or you have neither.

This might seem like just a concept thing and maybe should not be so important. But it was John and not I, that called people antichrists (enemies of Christ) if they denied Jesus in the flesh while on earth. But perhaps the danger that John was moved by the spirit to condemn is that if the Bible is clear and plain and we won't allow ourselves to be guided and directed by those God-inspired words, than what hope can there be for us? We must not insert or read things into the scriptures that are not there. Jesus came in the flesh and that is all there is to it. Shun people who argue otherwise. They are not from God and you do not need to listen to them.


Make Disciples, Be Baptized
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Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age."

The Apostles and others were commanded to preach and make disciples and to command others to do the same. They also were told to baptize which they faithfully carried out and we must, too. There are several more scriptures to reinforce the command to get baptized and baptize others. Many have said that baptism is not necessary and that only the spirit is needed or that we are baptized in spirit. These are those who deny the need to obey Jesus. The Apostles always insisted on baptism, even after the spirit was received. Baptism is a command and needs to be observed as I better show in my article on Acts and the Christian Congregation. Even Jesus got baptized as an example for us to follow.

Acts 2:38 And Peter said to them, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 10:48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days.

1 Peter 3:20 who formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. 21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

Romans 6:4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

Colossians 2:12 and you were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.

Ephesians 4:4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all.


The "9" Commandments
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Well, yes, 9! There were ten but one of them was made unnecessary by the sacrifice of Jesus and the new covenant. That would be the Sabbath day. The other 9 are still valid as they are not so much to do with Israel and the worship associated with the temple. They are just rules to live by and have always been in effect from before the law and long after the law covenant. The Apostles have verified every one of these in their letters so we know they are still valid.

Exodus 20:1 And God spoke all these words, saying:

2 I am Jehovah your God, who has brought you out from the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. 3 You shall not have any other gods beside Me. 4 You shall not make a graven image for yourself, or any likeness in the heavens above, or in the earth beneath, or in the waters under the earth; 5 you shall not bow to them, and you shall not serve them; for I am Jehovah your God, a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of fathers on sons, on the third and on the fourth generation, to those that hate Me; 6 and doing kindness to thousands, to those loving Me, and to those keeping My commandments.

7 You shall not take the name of Jehovah your God in vain; for Jehovah will not leave unpunished the one who takes His name in vain.

12 Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long on the land which Jehovah your God is giving to you.

13 You shall not murder.

14 You shall not commit adultery.

15 You shall not steal.

16 You shall not testify a witness of falsehood against your neighbor.

17 You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male slave, or his slave- girl, or his ox, or his ass, or anything which belongs to your neighbor.


Sexual Commandments
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These are kind of elaborate since any adultery is strictly forbidden and the would be covered under that crime. But in some cases like a man and his sister, might not be adultery but they are forbidden and called incest. Or having sex with an unmarried aunt, uncle, niece or nephew. And they are still valid and applied to Christians.

Leviticus 20:10 And a man who commits adultery with a man's wife, who commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, the adulterer and the adulteress are surely to be put to death.

11 And a man who lies with his father's wife, who has uncovered the nakedness of his father, both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be on them.

12 And a man who lies with his daughter-in-law, both of them shall surely be put to death; they have made a shameful mixture; their blood shall be on them.

13 And a man who lies with a male as one lies with a woman, both of them have done a detestable thing; they shall certainly be put to death; their blood shall be on them.

14 And a man who takes a woman and her mother, it is wickedness; they shall burn him and them; and there shall be no wickedness in your midst.

15 And a man who lies with an animal shall certainly be put to death; and you shall kill the animal.

16 And if a woman draws near to any animal to lie with it, you shall even put to death the woman and the animal; they are surely to be put to death; their blood shall be on them.

17 And if a man takes his sister, the daughter of his father or daughter of his mother, and he has seen her nakedness, and she sees his nakedness, it is a shame. And they shall be cut off before the eyes of the sons of their people; he has uncovered his sister's nakedness; he shall bear his iniquity.

18 And if a man lies with a menstruous woman, and has uncovered her nakedness, he has made her fountain bare; and she has uncovered the fountain of her blood; even both of them shall be cut off from the midst of their people. [This may have something to do with abstaining from blood and all that is symbolizes.].

19 And you shall not uncover the nakedness of your mother's sister, nor of your father's sister, because he has made naked his near kin; they shall bear their iniquity.

20 If a man lies with his aunt, he has uncovered the nakedness of his uncle; they shall bear their sin; they shall die childless.

21 And if a man takes his brother's wife, it is an unclean thing; he has uncovered his brother's nakedness; they shall be childless.
 


Some Legal Precedents on Sex Crimes
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Deuteronomy 22:23 If there is a girl that is a virgin, betrothed to a man, and a man finds her in the city, and lies with her, 24 then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city. And you shall stone them with stones so that they die, the girl because she did not cry out, being in the city; and the man, because he has humbled his neighbor's wife. And you shall put away the evil from among you.

The law often makes assumptions that are now missed by most. Verse 23-24 covers two people who willfully engage in sex but the girl claims she was raped. But if she did not cry out and the sex was in the city, the excuse will not be accepted or believed. Back then, people would come to the aid of a woman crying our for help. Today we are screwed up and heartless and would not bother to come to the aid of someone crying for help. It is evidence of how pathetic we have truly become.

But in the next case, the sex occurs out in the fields outside of the city. Here, if a girl claims rape, they are to take her word for it because it is not likely that there was anyone around to help her. No need for two or three witnesses in this case. God equates rape with murder in regards to seriousness.

Deuteronomy 22:25 But if a man finds a betrothed girl in the field, and the man seizes her and lies with her; then only the man that lay with her shall die. 26 And you shall do nothing to the girl; the girl has no sin worthy of death; for as when a man rises against his neighbor and murders him, even so is this matter. 27 For he found her in the field, and the betrothed girl cried out, but no one saved her.

Of course, what is prescribed for a girl betrothed (engaged /promised) also applies to a girl not betrothed, though not specifically stated, in the case of a rape outside of the city. The exception would be when both are caught and both were willing (she did not cry out) and neither was betrothed. That is a different circumstance from if they were betrothed to others. So that case is dealt with below.

Deuteronomy 22:28 If a man finds a virgin girl, not being betrothed, and seizes her and lies with her, and they be found; 29 then the man lying with her shall give to the girl's father fifty pieces of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he has humbled her. He may not put her away all his days.

Deuteronomy 22:5 There shall not be the thing of a man on a woman, nor shall a man put on a woman's garment. For whoever does these things is an abomination to Jehovah your God.

Men are to be men and women are to be women and to clearly and distinctly dress as such. This is a law that has come to be disregarded today and seen as no big deal just as homosexuality (men who lie with men) is thought normal, too. But God does not see it that way. Those who want to please and obey God and His Son must not practice such things.


Other Various Commandments
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1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If any one loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world passes away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides for ever.

Loving the world as in putting its laws and customs above those of God or pursuing the world's interests instead of God's. It does not mean we do not love people in some way or another. But it should be recognized that most people love the world and love its pursuits and interests so we don't want to get dragged down with them when we resist the interests of the world such as their wars or whatever.

Deuteronomy 18:10 There shall not be found in you one who passes his son or his daughter through the fire, one that uses divination, an observer of clouds, or a fortuneteller, or a whisperer of spells, 11 or a magic charmer, or one asking of familiar spirits, or a wizard, or one inquiring of the dead. 12 For all doing these things are an abomination to Jehovah.

Yes, witchcraft and other types of the paranormal are off limits to Christians.

1 Timothy 2:12 I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent.

In the age of feminism, this is a touchy one but Paul's language is quite precise and clear. No room for doubt here. God's word must be obeyed and Paul certainly spoke for God whether we like what he spoke or not.


Seek Unity, Avoid Divisions
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Ephesians 4:1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all.

Ephesians 4:11 And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the cunning of men, by their craftiness in deceitful wiles.

1 Peter 3:8 Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love of the brethren, a tender heart and a humble mind.

Romans 6:5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.

1 Corinthians 1:10 I appeal to you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.

1 Corinthians 6:17 But he who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.

The unity spoken of here is more of one of harmony, cooperation, peace, and especially spirit as opposed to fighting, competition and rivalry, glory seeking, disagreements fueled by ego and not seeing the big picture, and bring led by the flesh rather than the spirit. It is not so much about doctrine anymore. It could not be. We will have to wait on the Lord to unite us in doctrine. But there should be at least some agreements about the more important doctrines, commandments actually. Commandments need to be obeyed. Concepts to some degree, can be more relaxed. And not all will see prophecy or illustrations exactly the same way. But commandments are not optional. And certainly we should be able to get along peacefully.

1 Corinthians 12:24 But our presentable members have no need. But God tempered the body together, giving more abundant honor to the member having need, 25 that there not be division in the body, but that the members might have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it. If one member is glorified, all the members rejoice with it. 27 And you are Christ's body, and members in part.

This scripture above is kind of important and unique, too. Those parts of our body seeming the least glorious are the ones we often give more attention to as it may have more need of care and cleaning. So likewise should members care for one another, especially for the less gifted in their midst. And when one suffers, all suffer. When one is praised, all are honored and praised by that. When a member is treated like an outcast, it can come back to haunt you. Look at what is taking place with all the school shootings in the USA because they ignore and pick on their own neighbors. God's command is that we love all our brothers and neighbors and not let any be treated as outcasts. Cliques are evil.

In addition to rivalries, divisions, and heresies being condemned, many other fruits of the flesh are also condemned as well. They are all to be avoided but with the realization that we all may be guilty of them to a degree from time to time. We should always to our best to minimize how much they become manifest in us. Fighting them back will always be a challenge but one we should never shrink back from.

Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are clearly revealed, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lustfulness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, fightings, jealousies, angers, rivalries, divisions, heresies, 21 envyings, murders, drunkennesses, wild parties, and things like these; of which I tell you beforehand, as I also said before, that the ones practicing such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I exhort you, brothers, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that you all say the same thing, and there be no divisions among you, but you be united in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For concerning you, my brothers, it was shown to me by those of Chloe that there are strifes among you. 12 But I say this, that each of you says, I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, and I of Christ. 13 Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized into the name of Paul?

1 Corinthians 3:3 For you are yet fleshly. For where among you is jealousy, and strife, and divisions, are you not fleshly and walk according to man?

1 Corinthians 11:18 Indeed, first, I hear divisions to be among you when you come together in the church. And I believe some part.

Romans 16:17 And brothers I exhort you to watch those making divisions and causes of stumbling contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and turn away from them.

If you can think of any other direct commands or instructions that are not overly trivial and should be mentioned and given attention, by all means, let me know so I can put them up here. Thanks.


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The Great Apostasy
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Christian Requirements
Christian Test

 

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