There were two Rabbis in Jesus’ day, the conservative Shammai, and the more liberal Hillel. A gentile came to them and said that he would convert to Judaism if the Rabbi’s could teach him the entire law while standing on one foot. Shammai was repulsed by the man’s arrogance and glib attitude and he turned him away. The man then went to Hillel who took the challenge. Hillel lifted one foot and said, “The entire law is this, don’t do to others what you don’t want done to you.”
Jesus took this comment and restated it positively in the Sermon on the Mount….”Do to others what you want them to do to you” (Matt. 7:12).
Two thoughts to ponder….Jesus borrowed from the liberal Rabbi, not the conservative, and Jesus never used the standard formula for conversion that most of grew up with and assume to be central to the Gospel. This leaves me thinking that conversion isn’t (just) a momentary decision…. but also a lifetime of commitment to love God and love others like we would love ourselves.