Salvation and Discipleship

If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.  Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all he hath, he cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:26;27;33

Christian Life
Throughout our Christian life, a process of progressive sanctification takes place. Often this is called growing in grace, maturing in our spiritual life – discipleship. Christian discipleship is misunderstood today but is closely linked to sanctification. But if Christian discipleship is misconstrued – one’s whole theology becomes distorted.

Many teachers consider discipleship as integral to the initial stage of salvation… making discipleship a requirement of salvation – an add on to “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ..” But salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Discipleship, like sanctification, is a term that must be seen in its proper context so that we can understand what the Lord Jesus meant when He challenged His followers:- “Whoever does not come after Me and carry his own cross – cannot be My disciple.” “Whoever does not forsake all he has and come after me – cannot be My disciple”

Sanctification like justification and glorification is the gracious work of the Holy Spirit. Only believers can be sanctified, for God will never set apart the unsaved unto Himself. Oh! God may use an unbeliever to forward His sovereign plans and purposes, as He did with Pharaoh – but they can never be conformed into the image of the Lord Jesus. They can never gain spiritual understanding and maturity for that is the unique right and privilege of the body of Christ.

Spiritual Maturity
Spiritual understanding is spiritually discerned. It is a beautiful, free gift of grace, which is extended to all who trust on Christ Jesus. It is only the believer in Christ that can be sanctified and set apart unto the Lord – BUT not all Christians are prepared to progress along the path to spiritual maturity – not all Christians grow in grace, and many simply remain in spiritual infancy all their lives. Only believers can be set apart to God – but not all will identify with the cross of Christ. Only believers can grow in grace – but not all will take up their cross and follow Him. Only believers can become TRUE disciples of Jesus – but not all believers will become disciples.

We need to know what a disciple is, and what Christ requires of a true disciple of His. We need to realise the biblical criteria for salvation and discipleship are different. Discipleship is a kissing cousin to sanctification.. but NEVER initial salvation. The concept of discipleship is often misunderstood or misappropriated by Christians. Many think that getting saved means that we automatically become Christ’s disciple – but this is not what the holy scriptures teach about disciples or discipleship.

Meaning of Discipleship
A disciple is a learner – a proselyte – a man or woman who is a student or a pupil. A disciple is one that is an apprentice – a devoted follower of a great religious leader. Many of the Pharisees, such as the teacher Gamaliel, had a group of faithful disciples. Indeed, we read they often travelled the world to make one disciple:  and when he became a disciple – they made him twice as fit for hell as they are.

Christ’s Followers
Christ also had a great following of disciples – those who were learning from Him. We read of 12 disciples and many women – secret disciples, like Joseph of Aramathea. Some who were called disciples were believers and others did not believe in Him. Some believed He was the Son of God like Peter, and were saved – some didn’t believe, like Judas, and died in their sins. Some followed for a time – but found discipleship too hard a path and walked with Him no more.

Call to Submission
When seen in this general context a disciple is simply a learner – a proselyte. BUT When viewed as one called by Christ to become His disciple, to take up their cross daily and to give up all for the sake of Christ – it is a call to submission to all who believe on His name, and can never be seen in the context of Salvation.

God’s Gift
Salvation involves what God gives to us – His own life, not what we give to Him, for Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Salvation costs us NOTHING, but it gives us EVERYTHING.

Free-Will Choice
Discipleship involves what we give to God  – ourselves: our own life. But Discipleship is the choice of a believer and NOT a requirement of salvation. Discipleship will cost us something and it may even cost us everything. Remember, in Christ’s economy it is only believers who are called to be disciples and forsake all for Christ’s sake – but it is a free-will choice to live as unto the Lord and to submit to His guidance – but never a requirement of salvation as widely taught today.

Grow in Grace
Throughout our Christian life, a process of progressive sanctification takes place. Often this is called growing in grace – maturing in our spiritual life – discipleship. Let us be those that come after Christ and love not the things of this world. Let us be those who carry our own cross and come after Him. Let us be those that forsake all that we have – to become His disciple.. knowing what it cost our God and Saviour to redeem you and me.


Bible References

26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?

29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,

30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.

31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?

32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.

33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

Psalm 45

Psalm 112

Psalm 145

47 O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.

For the Lord most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth.

He shall subdue the people under us, and the nations under our feet.

He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom he loved. Selah.

God is gone up with a shout, the Lord with the sound of a trumpet.

Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises.

For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding.

God reigneth over the heathen: God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness.

The princes of the people are gathered together, even the people of the God of Abraham: for the shields of the earth belong unto God: he is greatly exalted.

Psalm 112

112 Praise ye the Lord. Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, that delighteth greatly in his commandments.

His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed.

Wealth and riches shall be in his house: and his righteousness endureth for ever.

Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.

A good man sheweth favour, and lendeth: he will guide his affairs with discretion.

Surely he shall not be moved for ever: the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance.

He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord.

His heart is established, he shall not be afraid, until he see his desire upon his enemies.

He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor; his righteousness endureth for ever; his horn shall be exalted with honour.

10 The wicked shall see it, and be grieved; he shall gnash with his teeth, and melt away: the desire of the wicked shall perish.

Psalm 145

145 I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever.

Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever.

Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.

One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts.

I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works.

And men shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts: and I will declare thy greatness.

They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness.

The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.

The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.

10 All thy works shall praise thee, O Lord; and thy saints shall bless thee.

11 They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power;

12 To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom.

13 Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.

14 The Lord upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down.

15 The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season.

16 Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.

17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.

18 The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.

19 He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them.

20 The Lord preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy.

21 My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord: and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever.

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