Is there such a thing as a solo Christian?

Though some jokingly say that the Christian life would be easy were it not for other people, the concept of a "solo Christian" is decidedly unbiblical. While a relationship with God is a personal decision, God calls us His children to involve themselves with other believers in order to remain healthy and productive.

Life is, by nature, relational. God saw that it was not good for Adam to be alone and made Eve as a companion (Genesis 2:18–25). In Christ, we are made to be children of God (John 1:12). Jesus calls His followers "friends" (John 15:15). But we are meant to have relationship with one another, not just with God. Jesus prayed that His followers be one (John 17). The greatest commandments are to love God and love others (Matthew 22:34–40). Jesus talks about abiding in God and loving others as a result (John 15:1–17). He said that His followers would be known by their love for one another (John 13:34–35) and the New Testament is filled with commands about how to treat one another. Clearly the Christian life is meant to be lived in human relationship.

In many ways, it is in relationship with others that the proverbial rubber meets the road in the Christian life. God's work of sanctification in us has a lot to do with the way we interact with others. And God often uses those others to prune us, be it through helping us learn to forgive or to be humble or through setting a positive example. It is also in relationship with others that we can do things such as serve and love well.

We also learn through others. Being in Christian community helps prevent against private misinterpretations of the Bible. When we are with other Christians, we benefit from their interactions with God and insights about Him as well as have a place to verify that what we think we are learning from God is really from Him. Other Christians can also help keep us accountable to continue growing. They can remind us of the deceitfulness of sin and encourage us as we strive to obey God. While Christian community is essential, it is important to remember that the Bible is still our authority.

In Scripture, we are referred to as sheep and are called to beware of the devil, the "roaring lion, seeking someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8). When a sheep is alone and is separated from the flock, he is more likely to be harmed. As any good shepherd knows, the sheep are safest when they are with the flock, under the watchful eye of the shepherd.

Perhaps the most beneficial reason there is no such thing as a solo Christian is the opportunity for encouragement. Hebrews 10:24–25 says, "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." Living the Christian life in an anti-Christian world can be quite demoralizing. Even if the world were not against us, the fallen nature of this world can lead to much heartache. When we are in relationship with others who know the hope of Christ, we can give each other comfort and speak words of life and hope (2 Corinthians 1:3–7; Romans 12:15).

Christians are referred to as members of one body (1 Corinthians 12:12–31) and as brothers and sisters in Christ (1 John 3:1–3; Romans 8:15–17; Luke 8:21). As Christians, we are members of a spiritual family. We are, in a sense, given to one another. It is in relationship with other believers that the Christian life is most fully lived.

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