Jesus said that Biblical Law could be summarized in two main points. First is the obvious: You must embrace God as your Lord and commit to His revelation as your sole guide in life. Second is that you must treat His family just as precious as He does. When Jesus used the term “neighbor” in relation to the parable of the Good Samaritan, it wasn’t in the sense of anyone near you geographically. He used a term arising from the Law of Moses recognizing someone who was part of the same Covenant. However, Jesus pointedly showed that anyone who appears to embrace Biblical Law must be treated as under the Covenant. So while Samaritans generally were not under the Covenant, they could be morally observant of divine justice.
By no means did Jesus suggest we treat every random stranger as a fellow covenant member. You still have plenty of outsiders, and even enemies, who have no business making covenant claims on you. For them, you still have your divine mission and calling, the free offer of mercy God has put in your hands for them. But treating someone as a fellow child of God is not based on anything this world regards. Rather, it is based on mutual respect and provisional trust in how their actions reflect Biblical Law. These are the people whose welfare you place in the same basket as your own.
It doesn’t mean being “nice” as most American evangelicals view it. Indeed, a great many Christians, even those truly born-again, do not embrace Biblical Law. They have no more claim on you than any sinner, except that they are obliged to Biblical Law whether they recognize it or not. Thus, you are permitted to speak with them prophetically, rather like John the Baptist calling for repentance. Otherwise, they are not your “neighbor” unless they adhere to Biblical Law. It’s more likely they adhere to some variation on Western notions of justice and fairness, which is distinctly pagan and not biblical.
Thus, we do not treat as neighbors everyone who claims Christ. Rather, we seek to read their hearts and discern whether we can work alongside them to promote shalom. Even truly heart-led children of God can be a bad fit; it’s based on individual mission and calling from God. We can worship alongside a lot more people than we can work with. The sole agenda of any church is growing in grace and getting along with each other. Nothing in the New Testament promotes growth strategies, bigger budgets and facilities, nor political influence. It’s supposed to be an enclave of biblical sanity. We seek to build a feudal covenant family, a clan of heart-led people devoted to Biblical Law.
Within the current context in the US, this is exceedingly difficult. There will surely come a day when the Lord will make that happen, but until then, we seek to develop a collegial society thinly scattered across the land. This faith will grow, and it should be preserved as a corrective for all that has gone wrong with the rise of Western Civilization. We should pray together and wait on the Lord to open the door to spreading our message around the world. This thing does not lend itself to quick growth among a people who grow up hostile to the very existence of a heart-led life of faith.
We cannot simply repeat the mistakes of churches from the past. We cannot allow heart-led covenant faith to sink again into obscurity, but we dare not use the methods so in vogue with the mainstream. We must be patient in living together our genuine commitment to Biblical Law, for that is simply another name for Christ.