The Common Good

According to the Bible, You Might Be a Christian If …

Many people exploit the Bible to furiously cast judgment on others — sinfully using condemnation, guilt, shame, fear, and hatred to abuse others — all under the guise of “accountability” and the false premise of “Christianity.”

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But according to the Bible, various people were used by God to do amazing things, and these individuals were often described as righteous and holy … even though they were dramatically flawed.

To be human is to be imperfect, and although we shouldn’t glorify sin or purposefully live in sin, we need to be careful about labeling others at “heretics,” “unbelievers,” and “sinners.” Because in reality, contrary to everything we assume, those whom we detest just might be favored by God.

Sinful attributes and misdeeds don’t disqualify you from a life of holiness, righteousness, and Godliness, but we often treat people as such — and condemn them to an eternity in hell. But according to the Bible, you might be a ‘Christian’ even if …

You’re a Murderer : Moses (Exodus 2:11-12); King David (2 Sam. 7-12);

You’re A Prostitute : Rahab (Joshua 6:25; Heb. 11:31)

You’re An Adulterer : King David (2 Sam. 11); The woman caught in adultery (John 8);

You Sleep with Your Relatives : Judah (Gen. 38); Lot (Gen. 19)

You Practiced Polygamy : Abraham (Gen. 16:3); Jacob (Gen. 29); Gideon (Judges 8:29-32); David (2 Sam. 5:13-16); Solomon (1 Kings 11:1-3)

You’re a Corrupt Official : Zacchaeus the tax collector (Luke 19:1-9);

You Steal : Jacob (Genesis 27); Rachel (Gen. 31: 31-35); The Israelites (Malachi 3)

You’re a Criminal: the thief on the cross (Luke 23: 40-43)

You’re a Drunkard : Noah (Gen. 9:20-23)

You’re a Betrayer: Peter (Mark 14:66-72)

You Judge, Hate, Persecute, and Discriminate: Jonah (Jonah 3:10-4:4); The disciples James and John (Luke 9:51-56); Saul/Paul (Acts 9:1; Gal 1:14; 1 Cor. 15:9),

You Commit Acts of Violence: Peter (John 10); Saul/Paul

You’re a Doubter: Thomas (John 20); Gideon (Judges 6); Sarah and Abraham (Gen. 17)

Contrarily, You Just Might NOT Be a Christian If …

You perform miracles, cast out demons, and do mighty works : (Matt. 7:21-23)

You Talk to God : Satan (Job 1:7; Luke 4)

You Know a Lot About God, Theology, and the Scripture: Satan (Luke 4), the Pharisees,

Unfortunately, Christians harshly reject and attack others for much lesser crimes than the ones listed above. So what do Christians look like today? We might be surprised when they don’t look anything like ourselves.

Jesus routinely warns us about the danger of judging others (Matt. 7:1-5) but it’s easy to self-righteously condemn to satisfy our own desires, agendas, fears, guilt, and motivations. Be careful (Luke 6:37).

Stephen Mattson has contributed for Relevant Magazine and the Burnside Writer's Collective,and studied Youth Ministry at the Moody Bible Institute. He is now on staff at Northwestern College in St. Paul, Minn. Follow him on Twitter @mikta.

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