Salvation, the beginning of Discipleship.
I watched a video recently by a man named Maurice Barratt of barrattministries.org. Maurice says in his Bible Study: Mod1 01. Follower or Disciple, Speaking about followers of Christ but who are not disciples, Quote: “They are saved but they won’t reign with Christ. They won’t inherit the Kingdom”.
Explaining this Bible Study, it says: This is the first teaching in Module 1 of the 6th Day Bible School. Maurice shows clearly the difference between someone who accepts Jesus as their Saviour and is a follower, and one who has made him Lord and a disciple. A follower has eternal life, but a disciple can obtain the kingdom when Christ returns.
Maurice goes to great lengths to prove that a person can receive Christ as Saviour, have eternal life but miss out on inheriting the Kingdom of God.
In other words, to Maurice, Salvation and Discipleship are two separate things.
This is not a new teaching. There have been others that have taught the same thing
Another person that taught the same thing was a man named Watchman Nee, born 1903.
Quote from Watchman Nee, (The Gospel of God, (2 volume set),
To have eternal life is different from entering the kingdom of the heavens. Whoever cannot see the difference between eternal life and the kingdom of the heavens will never be clear concerning the way of salvation and the way of preservation.
There is a difference between eternal life and the kingdom of the heavens.
The way to have eternal life is by believing.
To have the kingdom of the heavens, one needs to be poor in spirit. The Lord also says, "Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of the heavens" (v. 10). One does not have to be persecuted to receive eternal life, but the kingdom is for those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness. Even if a man has eternal life, if he has not been persecuted for the sake of righteousness today and is not poor in spirit, he may still have no share in the kingdom.
Maurice uses from scripture the story of the rich young ruler:
In the Gospel of Matthew 19:16–30, a rich young man asks Jesus what actions bring eternal life. First Jesus advises the man to obey the commandments. When the man responds that he already observes them and has done from his youth he then asks a second question, he asks what else he can do, Jesus adds: If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.
Note: the word “perfect” here is (Greek – Teleios) meaning, complete, become mature. Grow in stature.
The Gospel of Luke 18:18–30 has the same story concerning the rich ruler and states that: When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. Jesus looked at him and said, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God, Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
Of course it is quite clear from New Testament teaching that no one can be saved by keeping the law. Salvation is by faith alone apart from the law.
Romans 8:3-4 “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
However it seems that the parallel that is drawn from this story is the two stages of inheriting the Kingdom of God.
Question one, what must I do to inherit eternal life? Jesus answer, keep the law.
Question two, what else must I do? Jesus answer, sell all and follow me.
The conclusion drawn by Maurice from this passage is that one can have faith in Christ to be saved but to inherit the Kingdom, one must become a follower (a disciple) of Christ and have a deeper or a second experience.
This makes Salvation something separate from discipleship.
There have been other teachings that resemble this over the years.
It sounds very much like the teaching of a second experience, a deeper experience.
Without this deeper experience, one can be saved but to be a better Christian one needs to seek a deeper experience.
This was taught by John Wesley and was continued by Wesleyan Methodists, The Nazarene movement and the Pentecostal movement.
This has been labelled over the years as, “Second Blessing” – “Entire Sanctification” – “Sinless Perfection”. “ The Baptism in the Holy Spirit”.
Let us examine this idea.
My aim is to show that if one is truly saved, if one is converted to Christ, if he is born again, he is a disciple and is translated from death to life, from the kingdom of Satan to the Kingdom of God.
If one is born again of the Spirit he will both be saved and inherit the Kingdom.
The question that arises from this teaching is this. After salvation, is there another second experience that qualifies one for the Kingdom of God? If this is the case, is there a two tier system of Christianity?
Those that believe and inherit Eternal Life and those that believe, inherit Eternal life and also inherit the Kingdom of God.
Put another way, those that are Christians and those that are Christian disciples.
There are three terms that come into play whilst examining this subject.
Disciple, (Pupil or Apprentice) (Greek – Mathetes)
Believer, (True believer) (One who trusts) (Greek – Pisteuo)
Follower, ( One who imitates) (Greek - Mimetes)
We know that one can be a follower, a disciple and a believer in anyone or anything.
We read that John the Baptist had followers, he had disciples and believers.
However, the truth is that he said that they must believe, follow and be disciples of the one who was to come after him, meaning Jesus Christ (the Son of God).
The Apostle Paul rebuked those that said, I am a follower of Cephas, I am a follower of Apollos and I am of Paul.
1Co 1:12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
1Co 1:13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?
His word to them was, was Paul crucified for you?
Our faith and trust, our belief, must be in Christ Jesus. It is Him that we should believe, follow and become a disciple of.
We read in scripture of the church in the New Testament as a church of disciples. The church was not somewhere to attend but the church was a group of believing disciples (Trusting pupils) of Jesus Christ. It is a spiritual entity where disciples of Christ are trained, encouraged, and protected. The entire church should be geared to producing and training disciples of Jesus Christ.
The truth as I understand scripture is that when a person is chosen by God, he is called by God, the Holy Spirit quickens him, regenerates his heart, making it possible for him to respond to the word of God. He is convicted of his sin, he is convinced of his need for a Saviour and is brought to a point where by the gift of faith and through the grace of God, he is repentant, he turns away from his sin, embraces Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour and by putting his trust in Christ, he is justified and then he determines to follows his new found Lord. He is converted. He is Born again of the Spirit of God.
He becomes a disciple, a follower, an imitator of Christ. By his walk in Christ, he is sanctified and finally he is glorified.
Romans 8:29 For those God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers.
30 And those He predestined He also called, those He called He also justified, those He justified He also glorified.…
From Rom 8:29 we see that from being justified to being glorified there is a time of being conformed to the image of His Son. (This is sanctification – being made Holy)
Indeed, the most common name for a New Testament believer is “disciple” or “methetes” in Greek. The term “believer” appears two times (Acts 5:14; 1 Ti. 4:12); “Christian” appears three times (Acts 11:16;26:28; 1 Pe. 4:16); “saint” appears 62 times; “brethren” appears about 135 times; but “disciple” (referring to a disciple of Christ) appears about 268 times.
Scripturally speaking, a New Testament believer in Jesus Christ and a disciple of Jesus Christ are one and the same. (True believer – True disciple)
Jesus Christ defined discipleship in very serious terms. Consider John 8 and John 15.
“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed” (John 8:31).
In John 8:31, Christ said the “disciple indeed” is one who continues in His Word. The Lord was addressing Jews who believed on Him but not in a saving way. See John 2:23-24. They were believing in Jesus as a miracle worker, as a great prophet, as a political messiah, but they were not acknowledging their personal sinfulness and owning Him as their Lord and Saviour. (No quickening of the Spirit, No conviction of sin and No repentance)
A believing in God’s Word, a love for God’s Word, a continuing in God’s Word, a passion for God’s Word is the clearest evidence of salvation and true discipleship.
“He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God” (John 8:47).
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27).
A disciple’s heart burns within him at God’s Word (Lu. 24:31).
Later, the crowds that had “believed” on Jesus turned away from Him (John 6:66). They turned away because they did not receive His Word (Joh. 6:64), in contrast to Christ’s true disciples.
“From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, “Will ye also go away”? Then Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God” (John 6:66-69).
A true believer is one who hears the Word and acts upon the Word. This is a true disciple who from the word go, begins to bear fruit of repentance.
In John 15, Jesus identifies the true believer as a disciple. “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples” (Joh. 15:8). Jesus explains that the believer is like a branch in the vine. Christ is the vine and the believer is a branch. Fruit bearing is the evidence of the true believer. It is not possible for a branch to be attached to the vine and not share in the life of the vine.
If someone seems to be a branch of Christ but does not bear fruit, he is taken away (Joh. 15:2, 6).
This refers to the professor who is not a possessor (Titus 1:16).
The true believer bears fruit and is pruned to bring forth more fruit (Joh. 15:2). This describes God’s sanctifying and chastening work in the believer’s life. This describes the true believer and the true disciple as one and the same.
Salvation and discipleship are different, but they are linked together and not so sharply divided as is commonly taught today. Saving faith produces discipleship. Discipleship is the evidence of saving faith.
The New Testament associates saving faith with following and obeying Christ in an intimate way.
The truth of the Word of God is this:
Col 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
Act 26:18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
1Pe 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
When we are born again of the Spirit of God, we are translated into the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of His dear Son, the Kingdom of Light, the Kingdom of Heaven.
The best and clearest answer to this question is found in John’s Gospel.
In this passage we see what Jesus Himself has to say about what qualifies a man for entering the Kingdom of God.
You Must Be Born Again
Joh 3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?
5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
It is quite clear from the words of Jesus, that the qualification for seeing and entering the Kingdom of God is new birth.
The new birth is the beginning of our discipleship. A genuine belief and trust in the Saviour Jesus Christ, produces repentance. True repentance is the beginning of our walk with Christ. This is a true disciple.
Put On the New Self
Col 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
Col 3:2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
Col 3:3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
Col 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
Col 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
Col 3:6 For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:
Col 3:7 In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.
Col 3:8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
Col 3:9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;
Charles Wesley recognised this when he penned the great hymn “And can it be”.
Long my imprison’d spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night:
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray;
I woke; the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth and followed Thee.
Having said all this, we must realise that whilst our Salvation was free, payed for by the precious blood of Christ.
However there is a cost to discipleship.
Luke 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
Joh 17:8 For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.
9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.
10 And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.
11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.
12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.
13 And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.
14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.
19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
25 O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.
26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.
So, is it true to say that a person can be saved and not inherit the Kingdom?
I would contend that if one is truly saved, if one has been convicted of his sin and repented of that sin, has trusted Jesus Christ for his salvation and determined to follow Christ. That this person is born again and has been translated from the Kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of God.
Although he is still in the flesh, he has begun a new life in Christ.
He has not only believed it possible to be grafted into the vine but has been actually grafted in and the life of Christ is flowing through him.
This will result in a change of heart, attitude and action, which is the evidence of saving faith.
He has become a new born babe in Christ, a new creation.
Salvation is recognising the Lordship of Christ. Jesus has become both his LORD and SAVIOUR.
We must always remember that whilst salvation is a free gift, bought with the blood of Christ, there is a price for discipleship. As new creations in Christ we grow by denying ourselves, taking up our cross daily and following Him.
When we are born again we become disciples, our race as just begun.
That is why the Bible says, "You are not your own. You are bought with a price.