The conditions of discipleship laid down by Our Lord in Luke 14; 26; 27 and 33 mean that the men and women He is going to use in His mighty building enterprises are those in whom He has done everything.
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 – ones 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”
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 of 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 proselyte..one disciple: and when he became a disciple – they made him twice as fit for hell as they are.
Some followed for a time – but found discipleship too hard a path and walked with Him no more.
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 costs 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..
But scripture tells us how to live our lives victoriously and wisely. We are first and foremost to lay aside every hindrance to discipleship. We are to put away everything that diverts us away from our life-calling, and the life into which we are all called is to know God and to know Christ. This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
A serious and thought-provoking discourse was given to Christ's chosen disciples and the wider multitude alike - on the high cost of discipleship, in this radical sermon-on-the-plain, which was recorded by Luke.
In His Sermon of the Mount it was not a great multitude of people that heard Christ's important discourse, for He was teaching His followers the meaning of true discipleship.
Jesus was warning believers that the path to true discipleship is difficult and requires discipline, dedication and death to SELF - self-indulgence, self-importance, self-centeredness, self-interest, self-seeking and self-righteousness.