A Delimma

For quite a while now I have been working with an issue in my mind. I have been preaching about it, reading about it, studying it, and thinking about it. The problem is that I never could seem to just put it clearly into words. Then the other day as I was preparing for a baptism it just hit me. It was crystal clear. This is it. “Can you separate salvation from discipleship?” Now you may think this a non-issue, but I think it is a huge issue in our churches. In other words, can a person be saved and not be or ever have been a real follower of Jesus. I just spent several months preaching through the epistle of 1 John. I feel pretty confident that John would answer my question “No”. I spent some time just looking at the words of Jesus about eternal life,what it means and how it is obtained. Honestly Jesus calls us to follow, surrender and give ourselves completely to Him. Do a word study of the word “believe” in John 3:16. I really believe that the problem with many in our churches is that they have misunderstood or been taught wrongly on this issue. Don’t get me wrong. I do not believe in a “works” salvation. It is all grace. It is a gift. I could never obtain it on my own. However, salvation is not just an acknowledgement to the truth of some fact. It is not joining a church or being baptized. It is surrendering to Christ. Nothing more and nothing less. I found it interesting when I realized that as Jesus spoke to Nicodemus He told him that others can see the difference that is made in anyone who has been born of the spirit (John 3:8). I wonder if we have not created a christianity in America that allows a person feel like they have fulfilled some “minimal” requirements and thus are in good standing with God without surrendering to follow Him. Well, too much more to really say here. But I would love to hear your thoughts and perspective.

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6 Responses to A Delimma

  1. Nick_Eli says:

    I would have to agree with what John would say and that is No, you cant seperste salvation from discipleship. There is more to salvation than just “walking the isle;” It is a life changing experience (Esph. 4:17-24). One problem with the church in America today is that there is a false teaching that leads people to beleive that if they just accept Him as Lord, they are saved and can continue to live their life as they are. And to those people the Lord tells them that He will spit them out of His mouth due to their lukewarmness (Rev. 3:14-22). Just in my readings, you notice that in the bible, everytime someone encountered Jesus, their life was dramatically changed, just look at Isaih, Paul, all of the Disciples, Moses, David, etc…When someone came face to face with the Lord, the creator of all things there was a dramtiac change in their lives.

  2. BK says:

    You really mean to say “dilemma”, right, Dad? Not everyone knows that we say goofy stuff like that. As for your “delimna”- I am going to have to agree with Mr. Elizondo- I believe that we are called “new creations- the old is past behold all things have become new”

  3. cacagle says:

    Don’t know if this is beating a dead horse or not, but “putting on the breastplate of rightiousness” is similar I think. Walking under th blood of Christ is one thing, much the same way as accepting Christ into your life. The second part of the equation is the walking in righteousness, or striving to do the things which God has laid upon your heart and told us in the Bible. If that doesn’t mirror the descipleship part of salvation then please tell me. Once again probably chasing a rabbit with this…just to clarify, I agree.

  4. simply*m says:

    I don’t believe we can separate salvation from discipleship.. I think GOD wants us [not just Paul & Barnabas], as disciples to bring salvation to the ends of the earth. (Acts 13:47 & Isaiah 49:6)

  5. Cristal says:

    Since you mentioned “works”…
    James (Chapter 2)
    14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.
    25 Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?
    26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

    Your blog reminded me that “disciple” means “to teach, train, educate.” “Discipline” is defined as “training, especially training of the mind or character.” When I was “saved” I need MUCH character and mind training. I still do. I need to be taught, trained and educated. I cannot see how they are separate since we are called to be disciples. If I am not submitting to the training, I am not walking in obedience to the Lord of my salvation.

  6. randyc says:

    hmmm… I’ve been pondering on this since you said it from the pulpit a few weeks ago. You ask the question like they are two separate things when in my mind they are merely two ends of the same journey. Salvation is that first step, the one He takes to pick up my battered offering; this pitiful life I have to give. Discipleship is (are) the following steps; learning to step in His footprints, touch with His hands, see with His eyes, love with His heart. Which of us has attained that? I know I haven’t, so for me that journey continues.

    Now to the real question; can you be saved and NOT take the next step? I think so, if not I need to be baptised. I was saved long ago, I took the second step, baptism, soon after, but several decades went by before I understood I was called to so much more than just missing hell. In fact it was just a few short years ago I ventured a third step. Some of you were there for it, holding the rope as I tentativly learned to trust His basket. Maybe someday you’ll be around for my fourth step… if you wait long enough and He doesn’t return first.

    However miniscule my progress, I *KNOW* I am His. I have far to go, oh so far, but praise His Holy Name, the journey has begun.

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