“So Long as He Is a Man Who Loves God”

Vatican photo, illustrating blog post “So Long as He Is a Man Who Loves God”
Watching the news about the search for the next pope raised an interesting question. If you are searching for someone who loves God, what should you look for?

The resignation of the current pope, Benedict XVI, and who will replace him have been topics of much discussion.

The pope

This is the first time a pope has resigned since Gregory XII in 1415—that is close to 600 years ago. A conclave of cardinals will select a new leader for the Roman Catholic Church.

One Catholic I saw interviewed said that he would support the new pope “so long as he is a man who loves God.”

How do we know who loves God?

What makes a man “a man who loves God”? How would we know for sure? What questions should one ask before choosing to follow his lead, example or teachings?

These and many more questions have challenged people over the centuries.

The Catholic Church has changed dramatically since its establishment by its founder, Constantine, in A.D. 325 when he took the religion of Christianity and made it the official state religion of the Roman Empire. It was after this that it became known as the Roman Catholic Church.

Jesus and the apostles gave some very clear guidelines that all should consider before determining that an individual is a man of God or even “loves God.”

Some considerations

Jesus said in the Gospel written by Matthew that we would know people by their fruits (Matthew 7:15-20). He warns of false prophets who will deceive many people, and He advises us to look to the fruits of their lives as well as their teachings.

Later the apostle Paul encouraged the members to follow him as they saw him following Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). If someone does not follow Christ’s teaching and example—as recorded in Scripture—we should not follow that person.

The only source of truth

All Christian churches call the Bible “Holy” and regard the Scriptures as “sacred.” But with all the divergent doctrines, it’s clear that they can’t all be following the Bible. What does the Bible tell us about what a person who loves God will do?

Peter wrote in a very profound manner to the churches, and a careful reading of his two letters gives a great deal of information about what a man who loves God should be like. As an example, read and study 1 Peter 5:1-4.

This is a model of leadership, teaching and example we can all follow and support.

Paul encourages us to “test [or prove] all things” and to “hold fast [to] what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). Surely this applies to our personal beliefs and whom we follow.

One of the clearest tests of our love for God was explained by Jesus Christ Himself. The apostle John recorded Christ’s words: “If you love Me, keep My commandments. … If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love” (John 14:15; 15:10).

So those who love God will obey all of God’s commandments. Yet most churches and Christian leaders today teach that the Sabbath commandment is a burden and reject it. John, however, points out that God’s “commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3).

These are just a very few of the signs we should look for before deciding whom we will follow.

Read more about how God’s commandments reflect God’s love in the section on the “10 Commandments” and in the article on the “Great Commandment.”

About the Author

Paul Suckling

Paul Suckling

Paul Suckling is a pastor for the Church of God, a Worldwide Association. He was born in England and now lives in New England. He is happily married to his wife of over 50 years, Jane. They have two children and two grandchildren.

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