John 12:26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.
Our salvation is made available to us because our God decided to make it available based on Jesus’ work for us in redemption. None of us could work for, earn, merit, or even deserve salvation. The emphasis on salvation being by grace through cannot be over emphasized or talked about too much. We also need to hear the Word on salvation and discipleship side by side. When we only hear about the grace in salvation it can leave the impression that once we are saved there is nothing we are to do and no works to perform. The truths from the Word of God about our following Jesus, or our discipleship, helps us to see our responsibilities under grace and not merely our benefits under grace. In my opinion, the American church has welcomed the salvation by grace message. It seems to me to have resisted, as a whole (and I know there are exceptions), the discipleship message. In most places you never hear the words “grace” and “discipleship” ever mentioned together. We need to see them together to get a balanced perspective. For instance:
- Salvation involves God’s love for us through Christ’s work (Romans 5:8; Galatians 2:20) but discipleship involves our love for God through our works (Matthew 10:37; Ephesians 2:10).
- Salvation is provided by God’s grace (Ephesians 2:8, 9) but discipleship is empowered by God’s grace (1 Corinthians 15:10; Philippians 2:13).
- Salvation is an expression of God’s will for us (1 Timothy 2:4) but discipleship is an expression of our will for God (Luke 14:27).
Saved people are to become disciples who do good works as a result of their salvation. Salvation involves a new standing of being righteous before God. One’s standing becomes in Christ or one’s perfect position in Christ. All believers measure up to the full standard of God’s righteousness in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21). In contrast to salvation, discipleship involves one’s state, condition, or actual practice. As believers we do not always or equally measure up to the full demands of discipleship (Luke 14:25-33). Very often it is less than perfect, but we are to follow after to apprehend that for which we have been apprehended of Him (Philippians 3:12-13).