The emphasis on grace we are hearing today needs seen or rightly divided by looking at the Word on salvation and discipleship side by side. When it only shares 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. That is what discipleship is all about; working out the salvation He worked in. 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. Saved people are to become disciples who do good works as a result of their salvation.
Salvation involves God’s love for us through Christ’s work (Romans 5:8; Galatians 2:20); Discipleship involves our love for God through our works (Matthew 10:37; Ephesians 2:10).
Jesus Christ’s invitation to salvation is, “Come unto Me,” (Matthew 11:28); Jesus Christ’s call to discipleship is, “Come after Me,” (Matthew 16:24).
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).
Salvation’s decision of putting our faith in Jesus Christ as Lord is made only once (John 5:24; Romans 10:9, 10); the discipleship decision of following Jesus is made daily and over and over (Luke 9:23; Matthew 16:24).
Salvation involves a new standing of being righteous before God. One’s standing becomes in Christ or one’s perfect position in Christ. In salvation, 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).
In salvation Jesus paid the price to bring us a complete redemption through His Cross (Ephesians 1:7; John 19:30); in discipleship we count the cost and bear our cross of following Jesus to keep our salt (the quality of our Christian life) from losing its savor (Luke 14:25-35).