JUSTIFICATION WITHOUT SANCTIFICATION
The Church Today
If one were to suggest that the time would come when a group of evangelical Christians would be arguing for a salvation without repentance, without a change of behavior or lifestyle, without a real avowal of the lordship and authority of Christ, without perseverance, without discipleship, and a salvation which does not necessarily result in obedience and works, and with a regeneration which does not necessarily change one’s life, most believers of several decades ago would have felt such would be an absolute impossibility. But believe it or not, the hour has come. (A Layman’s Guide to the Lordship Controversy, p. 71, Richard P. Belcher).
What confusion would many churches have today with these kinds of Scriptures?
“Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14 NASV).
“Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.” (1 John 3:7 KJV).
“To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.” (Romans 2:7 NIV).
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21 KJV).
Most scholars agree that the words sanctify, sanctification, holiness and holy come from Hebrew and Greek words which basically mean “to set apart” or “to separate” (Sanctification, p. 12, Robert D. Brinsmead). (1) It means separation from. The church is called to separate from the world (2 Cor. 6:17). (2) The church is called to separate from apostate doctrine (2 John 1:10). (3) The church is called to separate from sin (2 Cor. 7:1). (4) The church is to be separated to a new life. Those that are justified by faith also became servants of righteousness (Romans 6:18) and serve in the new way of the Spirit (Romans 7:6).
The New Testament often uses other expressions to describe sanctification such as: Following after righteousness (1 Timothy 6:11). Being transformed (Romans 12:2). Pressing toward the mark (Philippians 3:14). Partaking of the divine nature and escaping the corruption that is in this world (2 Peter 1:4). Cleansing ourselves from filthiness of flesh and spirit (2 Cor. 7:1), etc.
Sanctification – Its Scope. It was the whole man that sinned, and it is the whole man whom God wants sanctified.
“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:23).
Any view of sanctification that does not include the whole man falls short of Bible sanctification. The Greeks taught that the body was a prison to temporarily incarcerate the human soul, Paul taught his Grecian converts that their bodies were the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19). But the Corinthian church did not easily abandon the Grecian outlook. They were prone to interpret the Christian message in terms of Grecian philosophy. They thought sanctification was only a thing of the spirit so that what they did with the body was a matter of indifference (Ibid. p. 17). One of the most dangerous heresies of the first two centuries of the church was Gnosticism. Its central teaching was that spirit is entirely good and matter is entirely evil. The reasoning was that, since matter – and not the breaking of God’s law (1 Jn. 3:4) – was considered evil, breaking his law was of no moral consequence. In Colossians and in John’s letters, acquaintance with early Gnosticism is reflected in 1, 2 Timothy, Titus, and 2 Peter and perhaps 1 Corinthians. John’s readers (in 1 Jn.) were confronted with an early form of Gnostic teaching of the Cerinthian variety. This heresy was also libertine, throwing off all moral restraints. Consequently, John wrote the letter of 1 John with two basic purposes in mind: (1) to expose false teaching and teachers (1 Jn. 2:26) and (2) to give believers assurance of salvation (1 Jn. 5:13). In keeping with his intention to combat Gnostic teachers, John specifically struck at their total lack of morality ( 1 Jn. 3:8-10) (NIV Study Bible, p. 1906).
There is some grace teaching today that makes the same mistakes. Arthur Pink, in his book Practical Christianity states, “The terrible thing is that so many preachers today, under the pretence of magnifying the grace of God, have represented Christ as the Minister of sin; as One who has, through His atoning sacrifice, procured an indulgence for men to continue gratifying their fleshly and worldly lusts. Provided a man professes to believe in the virgin birth and vicarious death of Christ.” (See Jude 1:4).
Obedience to God’s commandments cannot be separated from our love for Him in either the Old Testament or the New Testament (See John 14:15, 21). Righteousness is both relational and ethical. Righteousness can be defined as right relationship that is reflected in right conduct. (See Matt. 25:37-40). The concern is not whether a man or his deeds are ethically sinless but whether those deeds are evidence of his faith and loyalty to Jehovah. Sanctification is not optional for believers. They are not saved by it, but they cannot be saved without it. Since they are saved to holiness, they know that a stranger to holiness may very well be a stranger to salvation (See 2 Cor. 13:5; Jas. 2:14) (Righteousness by Faith, pgs. 43,130; Robert D. Brinsmead).
Salvation has two aspects. (If clearly understood this would cause a revolution in many evangelical circles where people are resting on a salvation devoid of holiness). It means salvation from something (Rom. 3:24) and salvation to something (Rom. 6:18). The to is just as much a part of being saved as the from. So salvation means being saved from sin to righteousness, from death to life, from guilt to innocence, from condemnation to justification, from disobedience to obedience, from defilement to purity, from pollution to holiness. The Bible declares we are rescued “from the hand of our enemies” to serve God “without fear in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days” (Luke 1:74). This means if we receive God’s salvation in faith, a new life of obedience and holiness should be a part of it. As a train must operate on twin rails, so it is with a sound soteriology (the doctrine of salvation). And just as a train cannot jump one rail without jumping both, so it is with justification and sanctification (Sanctification, pgs. 38, 125-130, Robert D. Brinsmead). The New Testament keeps these two together. In 1 Corinthians 1:30 Christ is said to have been made “our righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (RSV); we cannot, in other words , have Christ as our justification without at the same time having Him as our sanctification (also 1 Cor. 6:11) (Sanctification, p. 83, Anthony A. Hoekema).
Let’s get our Message Straight: The proclamation of the gospel of the Kingdom was the only gospel preached by Jesus (Mk. 1:14-15), John the Baptist (Lk. 16:16), commissioned to the twelve (Lk. 9:1-6; Mk. 6:7-130), then to the seventy sent out by Christ (Lk. 10:1-12,16), Peter (Acts 2; 2 Pet. 1:10-11), Philip (Acts 8:5-8, 12), the apostle Paul (Acts 14:19-22; 19:8-10; 20:20-27; 28:23-31), James (Jas. 2:5), John (Rev. 1:9; Jn. 3) and all Christians throughout the end of the age (Mt. 24:14). Within that message is the proclamation of Jesus as Lord and King and his redemptive work (Rom. 10:9-10). The teaching of the “gospel of the kingdom” is the only teaching that I am aware of that emphasizes both justification and sanctification together. “King” = “absolute Ruler.” “Dom” = “Those who have accepted his rule (also known as repentance towards God, Acts 20:21-25).”
Those preachers who tell sinners they may be saved without forsaking their idols, without repenting, without-surrendering to the Lordship of Christ are as erroneous and dangerous as others who insist that salvation is by works and that Heaven must be earned by our own efforts (Arthur Pink). Any professed faith in Christ as personal Saviour that does not bring the life under plenary obedience to Christ as Lord is inadequate and must betray its victim at the last (John MacArthur).
Some final words of thought: The words “king or kingdom” or its equivalent is used 3274 times in Scripture. 285 times it is used in the New Testament. The word “Christ” (“anointed” to rule, a king) is used 571 times in the New Testament. The word “Lord” is used 728 times in the New Testament. The word “Saviour” is used 24 times. The word “disciple(s)” is used 272 times in the New Testament. The word “Christian(s)” is used only 3 times. The phrase “ask Jesus into your heart” is used 0 times. The phrase “receive Jesus as your personal Saviour” is used 0 times. The example of having someone repeat a prayer after someone else is found 0 times in Scripture. The idea that grace allows me to do whatever I want to do, is found 0 times in Scripture (Titus 2:11-12; Jude 1:4).
John MacArthur, pastor of Grace Community Church said, “Listen to the typical gospel presentation nowadays. You’ll hear sinners entreated with words like, ‘accept Jesus as personal Saviour; ‘ask Jesus into your heart’; ‘invite Christ into your life.’ You may be so accustomed to hearing those phrases that it will surprise you to learn none of them is based on biblical terminology.”
It’s time to cast off the error of the modern day church. For “Some godless people have sneaked in among us and are saying, ‘God treats us much better than we deserve, and so it is all right to be immoral.’ They even deny that we must obey Jesus Christ as our only Master and Lord. (Jude 1:4 CEV).
A message of justification without sanctification is a message that denies the heart of our King, for a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of His kingdom. For He loves righteousness, and hates iniquity (Hebrews 1:8-9).
This article was taken from COMMON ERRORS IN THE CHURCH TODAY by Don Krow
The Kingdom of God
While the Kingdom of God was the central theme of all preaching in the New Testament, it has been virtually ignored by modern-day evangelists. This absence of Kingdom-centered evangelism has had devastating effects on the Western church and has now reached critical mass. An anthropocentric gospel of American individualism, which traces its roots back no farther than to the American frontier, has replaced the God-centered “gospel of the kingdom.” The deficiency is so great that most evangelists and professors of evangelism would be hard-pressed even to define the “gospel of the
kingdom” (Matthew 24:14; Mark 1:14). The result has been a watered-down message that has no power to change lives.
THE BASIS FOR PREACHING THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM
When John the Baptist came preaching, “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand!” (Matthew 3:2), his hearers understood he was referring to the eschatological age foretold by Old Testament prophets, a time when God would send a promised messianic king to defeat Israel’s enemies and usher in a new age of universal peace. John called people to break with the past as a requirement to enter the Kingdom and escape the coming judgment.
After John’s arrest, “Jesus came preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand’” (Mark 1:14-15). Luke tells us that when Jesus stood in the synagogue and read a messianic passage from the prophet Isaiah, he concluded by saying, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21). Later, when asked if he were the promised messiah, Jesus replied, “I am” (Mark 14:62). The waiting period was over. The Kingdom had arrived in Jesus. It was no longer a distant hope, but it now had a name and a face connected with it.
Soon after his synagogue discourse, Jesus told the crowds, “I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent” (Luke 4:43). Everywhere He went He proclaimed the “glad tidings of the kingdom of God” (Luke 8:1). The 12 apostles traveled with Him.
Is it any wonder as He sent them out, He commissioned them “to preach the kingdom” (Luke 9:1-2)? Mark’s parallel account of the event says, “So they went out and preached that people should repent” (Mark 6:12), showing the link between the Kingdom and the call to repentance. Jesus then appointed 70 others to “heal the sick there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near you’” (Luke 10:1, 9).
Prior to His ascension, the resurrected Lord spent 40 days with the apostles “speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3). Thus, He ended His earthly ministry the way He began it -- declaring the Gospel of the Kingdom!
On the mount, after assuring His followers that there would be a future dimension to the Kingdom, He told them that in the interim they were to be His witnesses (Acts 1:8). Therefore, it is not surprising to find them preaching “the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus” (Acts 8:12). The Apostle Paul, likewise, taught “concerning the things of the kingdom of God” (Acts 19:8). He reminded the elders at Ephesus that he spent three years “preaching the kingdom of God” (Acts 20:25, 31). While under house arrest in Rome, “Many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God” (Acts 28:23). The Book of Acts closes, significantly, with these words, “Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him” (Acts 28:30-31).
There can be little doubt that the Good News of the Kingdom was the central theme of first-century evangelistic preaching. Consequently, it should be our focus as well.
THE NATURE OF THE KINGDOM MESSAGE
The Gospel is not an invitation to “invite Christ into your heart,” although His Spirit indwells every believer. Neither does the Gospel center on the eternal bliss that awaits believers at death, although every follower of Christ will depart to be with the Lord. Few, if any, New Testament sermons deal with heaven. Rather they focus on the Kingdom and what it means to be part of it, now and in the future.
The New Testament kerygma announces what God has ultimately done in and through Jesus and invites the hearers to become part of God’s great plan for history. It is primarily about God, not us.
Additionally, the authentic Gospel is an historical, not an ahistorical or existential message. Through the Old Testament prophets, God foretold a time when He would send a mighty deliverer to establish a new covenant with Israel and bring all things in subjection to Himself. All independent kingdoms to which people give their allegiance, both spiritual and material, will be destroyed. The incarnate Jesus announced that God’s Kingdom had arrived, and then He called people to submit to His rule. On the
cross He defeated Satan, offered His life as an atonement for sin, and regained dominion over God’s creation which Adam had relinquished at the fall.
Calvary was God’s death blow to Satan’s rule, sin’s power and death’s victory and, hence, it became the “hinge of history.”
At His resurrection, Christ emerged from the cosmic battle victorious, proving that God, not the rebels, was in charge. After all, if Jesus could enter the heart of enemy territory and not be defeated, then their days are numbered!
From His exalted position at God’s right hand, Christ now rules from His throne until His enemies become his footstool (Acts 2:35; 1 Corinthians 15:23-24). The powers of evil may still function, but only under the authority of Christ (Colossians 2:15; 1:15-16; 1 Corinthians 2:6-8). As one theologian remarks, “All kingdoms are confronted with their rightful overlord.”
As sovereign Lord, Christ now directs the course of history toward its victorious completion, i.e. the future establishment of His Kingdom on earth and the judgment of all nations, which will take place at His coming.
Finally the Gospel is corporate in scope as well as individualistic. The Kingdom now finds root in the church. Becoming a citizen of the Kingdom cannot be done in a vacuum, any more than a foreigner can become a citizen of the United States without rubbing shoulders with other Americans. There is a corporate or community aspect to citizenship. It includes responsibility and privileges that cannot be found by living in isolation. Likewise, it is incoherent to say one can enter that reign of Christ and remain outside the church.
The church in turn, spreads the Gospel of the Kingdom to the entire world and summons humanity to submit to God’s rule in Christ and align themselves with other believers in His Kingdom. Whenever and wherever the victory of Christ is proclaimed and obeyed, Satan must retreat. As God’s rule expands, Satan’s recedes. When asked what would be the sign of His coming and the end of the age, Jesus replied, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).
Level 1 Lesson 1
One of the most familiar passages of Scripture is John 3:16. It seems like everybody knows that verse from a young age, yet I believe it has really been misunderstood and misapplied. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Traditionally, this scripture has been used to teach that Jesus came and died for our sins so that we wouldn’t perish. As true as this is, this verse is saying that the real purpose of Jesus coming to this earth and dying for us was so that we could have everlasting life. It just so happened that our sins were a barrier that stood between us and this everlasting life.
It is true that Jesus did die for our sins, and it is true that if we believe on Jesus, we will not perish, but there is much more to the Gospel than that. The real message of the Gospel is that God wants to give you everlasting life. Now let me explain that.
The night before His crucifixion, Jesus was praying, and He said this, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ” (John 17:3)
This says that everlasting life is knowing the Father, the only true God, and knowing Jesus Christ, whom He has sent. That’s what everlasting life is. Many people think that everlasting life is living forever. Well, every person lives forever. It’s a misconception to think that when a person dies they cease to exist. The spirit and the soul go back to God. The body decays in the grave. The truth is, every person who has ever lived on the face of the earth will continue to live in spirit form. So to say that eternal life is living forever is not the whole truth—everybody lives forever. This verse makes it very clear that eternal life is not given to everyone.
Some people would say, “Eternal life is living forever in heaven versus living forever in hell.” But eternal life is just what Jesus said in John 17:3—to know God and Jesus Christ. It’s more than an intellectual knowledge. This word “know” is used throughout Scripture to describe the most intimate, personal relationship that you can have.
The real purpose of salvation is not living forever in heaven, as great as that will be. The real purpose of salvation is to have intimacy—a personal relationship with the Lord God. There are multitudes of people who have cried out to God for the forgiveness of their sins but have never had intimacy with God as a goal.
By not explaining the real purpose of salvation, we are doing a disservice to the Gospel. When we present salvation as something that deals with just spiritual things that 1will only benefit us in the future, in eternity, we are not helping people. There are some people who are living in such a literal hell right now on earth. Many are depressed, living in poverty, dealing with strife, rejection, hurt, and failed marriages. People are just trying to survive day to day. They are just trying to keep their heads above water. By making salvation something that deals only with the future, many people put off that decision because they are too busy just trying to survive today.
The truth is that Jesus not only came to affect our eternal destinies so that we can live forever in heaven in blessing instead of the punishment and curse of hell, but Jesus also came to deliver us from this present evil world (Gal. 1:4). Jesus came to give you intimacy and a personal relationship with God the Father today.
Jesus came to bring you back into close, personal relationship with Him. Jesus loves you. Jesus wants to know you personally. Jesus wants to give you a quality of life that is greater than anything you could obtain through any other source.
Jesus put it this way in John 10:10: “The thief [speaking of Satan] cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (brackets mine). God wants to give you eternal life. God wants to give you abundant life, and I believe that you need that today—that you want that. Christ died not only to forgive your sins, but to bring you close to him. If you don’t know the Lord, you need to know Him for that purpose. If you’ve already been born again, you need to go beyond just getting your sins forgiven and enter into everlasting life with the Father.
Facts about Eternal Life
A. The purpose of the Gospel is eternal life. (John 3:16).
B. Eternal life is knowing God. (John 17:3).
C. Knowing God is an intimate relationship. (1 Cor. 6:16-17).
D. Eternal life is available now. (1 John 5:12).
E. God wants a personal relationship with you. (Rev. 3:20).
1. Read John 3:16. What was the purpose of God sending Jesus into the world?
2. The biblical usage of the word “know” means to have an intimate, personal relationship with a person (Gen. 4:1). Read John 17:3. What is eternal/everlasting life, according to this verse?
3. Read 1 John 5:11-12. According to these verses, when does eternal, or everlasting, life begin?
24. Read John 10:10. What kind of life did Jesus come to give us?
5. Explain in your own words the quality or attributes of an abundant life.
6. Do you believe that God sent His Son Jesus into the world to die for the sins of the world, thereby giving us who believe eternal/everlasting life?
7. Is it clear to you that eternal/everlasting life is not only a length of time (eternity) but a quality and quantity of life?
By Andrew Wommack
Why Teach Doctrine? There are many that feel that it is unnecessary, even divisive, to teach doctrine. Nothing could be further from the truth. Bible doctrine is the truth of God’s Word, which needs to be taught. Jesus said, “My doctrine is not mine, but His that sent Me” (Jn. 7:16). Paul said to Timothy, “But thou has fully known my doctrine, [and] manner of life…” (2 Tim. 3:10). Doctrine should lead to life, practice, and application. As believers we are told to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). The Apostle Paul said, “The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine… And shall turn away their ears from the truth” (2 Tim. 4:3-4).
Three Sources of Doctrine. There are three sources of doctrine: (1) God. (2) Man. (3) Satan. In Matthew 16:13-23 we see all three sources revealed. When Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do men say that I am?” Peter answered, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said, “Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven” (v.v. 16-17). This was the doctrine of God coming to Peter.5
When asked the same question, many people said Jesus was John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or some other prophet (v. 14). This was the doctrine of man, that is, only human thinking. Jesus said that traditions and doctrines of men make the Word of God of none effect (Mk. 7:7-9,13). Believers are warned not to be carried about by every wind of doctrine (Eph. 4:14).
In verses 21-23, Peter rebuked Jesus for saying He was going to the cross. Jesus replied, “Get thee behind me Satan…” (Mt. 16:23). This was a doctrine of Satan. The Apostle Paul states that “in the latter time some will depart from the [Christian] faith and give heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Tim. 4:1). Proper understanding of God’s Word is the only way to correct the false teaching of man and the doctrines of demons.
Doctrine Must Be Sound. Sound doctrine is revealed as (1) The doctrine of God (1 Tim.6:1-3; Titus 2:10). (2) The doctrine of Christ (Heb. 6:1). (3) The Apostles’ doctrine (Acts 2:42). Contained within these doctrines are: Repentance from dead works, Faith toward God, Baptisms, Laying on of Hands, Resurrection from the dead, Eternal Judgment (Heb. 6:1-2), the words of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Tim. 6:3), the Kingdom of God (Luke 4:43), godliness (1 Tim. 6:3), love (1 Cor. 13:1-2), and all that the scriptures reveal that is profitable to be taught; that is, for doctrine (2 Tim. 3:16).
Do You Have Sound Doctrine? Sound doctrine keeps back nothing that is profitable (Acts 20:20), declares the whole counsel of God (not just your favorite verses – Acts 20:27; 2 Timothy 3:16), it builds up (Acts 20:32), rebukes, corrects and instructs in right living (See 2 Tim. 3:16). It holds firmly to the whole counsel of the apostle’s doctrine that was delivered unto the saints through the apostolic letters written to the churches (See 1 Timothy 4:13-16; Colossians 4:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:27).
Are You In Heresy? Heresy means to pick or choose. I have forty Scriptures on two pages and I choose ten verses I want to believe and teach (while ignoring the thirty). I am already in heresy to some degree. Vine’s Greek Lexicon states, “Heresy means to choose, especially the choosing of a self-willed opinion. It is frequently because of personal preference or the prospect of advantage.” Whatever the reason, it will lead to spiritual ruin and destruction. Without acknowledging all the Scriptures on all subjects, we will be led to wrong conclusions that result in wrong doctrine. How sad it would be to deceive others and be deceived (See 2 Timothy 3:13). Paul told Timothy to “watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Tim. 4:16, NIV). I personally adhere to the first-century church and what the early believers understood when they first heard a New Testament letter read to them. I personally do not adhere to a twentieth-century mystical interpretation that reads into the passage doctrines that the early church did not know nor perceive.
A Personal & Intimate Relationship with God. The purpose of all Bible doctrine is that man may come to know God in a personal and intimate way, as revealed in Jesus 6 Christ (Jn. 17:3; Acts 9:5). Not a god of our own making by picking and choosing what scripture we will believe and not believe. In doing this we make a god of our own invention.
Don W. Krow
DISCIPLES OR CHRISTIANS
It may surprise you to know that Jesus never called anyone to be a Christian, rather his call was to be his disciple. In the book of Acts, people were not invited to be Christians,
rather their call was to become Christ’s disciples.
Take your concordance and look up the word “Christian(s)” and then look up the word “disciple(s).” You are in for a shock! Look in the book of Acts and compare the word “Christian” to the word “disciple,” you’ll get the point!
In the Scripture the word disciple and disciples are used a total of 273 times. In all the Bible the word Christian and Christians is used a total of 3 times (Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16).
“And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch” (Acts 11:26).
Notice that they did not become Christians first and then decide if later they wanted to be disciples, no, they were disciples and later had the name Christian added to their description.
What is a disciple? The Greek word mathetes (disciple) means more in the New Testament than a mere pupil or learner. It means an adherent who accepts the instruction given to him and makes it his rule of conduct (Lexical Aids to the NT, p.933).
Mathetes (disciple) implies relationship to a teacher. In the New Testament mathetes occurs … some 250 times, almost always for those who follow Jesus. Acts has it in the absolute for a disciple of Jesus. In each instance we find attachment to a person. Jesus as the head of the group is expected to give the ruling. The destiny of the disciples is bound up with his. A unique aspect of New Testament discipleship is that his teaching has force only when there is first a commitment to his person (Theological Dict. of the NT, pgs 556-560).
In the New Testament, the words connected with discipleship are applied chiefly to the followers of Jesus and describe the life of faith to follow, follow after and imitate. Learning is no mere intellectual process by which one acquires teaching about Christ. It implies acceptance of Christ Himself. Following Jesus as a disciple means the unconditional sacrifice of his whole life, for the whole of life (New International Dict. of NT Theology, vol. 1, pgs., 480-490).
In at least some cases it meant literal abandonment of home, business ties and possessions, but in every cas readiness to put the claims of Jesus first, whatever the cost (New Bible Dict., p. 285).15
The verb “to follow” occurs about eighty times in the gospels, and exclusively describes the relationship between the earthly Jesus and His companions. It became a synonym for disciple (Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia, pgs., 129-130).
Jesus charged his followers to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19). The mission was not to win loose adherents… Instead, Jesus said to his disciples that they were to teach those who believe “to obey everything” he had commanded them (Matt. 28:20). Jesus defined the goal of discipling when he said, “A student (mathetes) is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40). Likeness, not simply knowledge, was the goal of Jewish discipleship. And likeness to Jesus himself is the goal God has for you and me (Romans 8:29; 1 John 3:2) (Expository Dict. of Bible Words, pgs., 226-227).
Jesus said, “\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters--yes, even his own life--he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26).
Conclusion and Objections: The real objection (to the Scriptures that emphasize discipleship) is that to be a Christian requires no effort (it is by grace). To be a “disciple” requires real sacrifice and commitment. The truth is, that the redemption of Christ required no effort on our part, it is perfect and requires no effort from us. But Christ’s call is for our whole and absolute life. He did not call some to be Christians and some to be disciples, they were to be the same. Jesus saves us by his blood, but his rights over us are absolute… He is King, Lord and Saviour.
Jesus call requires a change of heart. This change of heart, is a change of direction and is toward God (See Acts 20:21), and away from Satan. This turn was toward discipleship. As one turned, God offered by grace, through Jesus blood the gift of righteousness (forgiveness). Christ did not offer his benefits without taking his Person. The call was toward God and Christ, this is discipleship, a call and allegiance to Him, but not to his benefits without taking his Person.