Sunday, January 11, 2015

Give Me Five: Some High Priorities That Should Unite All Christians

We could call this the "Hebrews 13:1-5 mandate", five basic instructions Bible-believing Christians of all kinds should affirm and live by:

1. "Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters." No matter our differences, this should be our foremost priority, right next to our love for God. It is only by demonstrating genuine love for each other that people will know that we are indeed Jesus' followers. 

2. "Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it." In the spirit of Jesus we also love the alien and stranger among us--in the same way God does--impartially welcoming our neighbors of every race, nationality and religion into our homes and into our friendships.

3. "Remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering." God has a special heart for those who are enslaved, in chains or behind bars, and wills the restoration of freedom and justice for all who are in bondage anywhere and everywhere.

4. "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral." For social stability's sake, for children's sake, and for God's sake, promiscuity and infidelity in relationships need to be avoided like the serious plagues they have become. Couples should forever honor the marriage vows they have made, and a separation or divorce should be sought only in cases of ongoing abuse, addiction or adultery.

5. "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have." If we're serious about following Jesus, we will radically and joyfully celebrate "living simply so that others may simply live". Materialism and consumerism will be seen as idolatrous and as contrary to everything Jesus taught and demonstrated.

So, my fellow-believers, give me five, summarized in the above instructions from the Hebrews text. They could represent a message even an agnostic would understand.
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