Salvation versus Discipleship – Part 1: Foundational Differences – Once Saved.org
 

Salvation versus Discipleship – Part 1: Foundational Differences

| Posted in All Posts, Salvation vs Discipleship Series

Print Post

In this video, I’m starting a five-part series on the topic of Salvation versus Discipleship. Salvation and discipleship are not the same and how well we understand the differences will affect how well we understand the Gospel. Let’s get into it. 

The Great Commission

Mark 16:15 – Salvation

And He(Jesus) said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and PREACH THE GOSPEL to every creature.” Mark 16:15 

Matthew 28:19-20 – Discipleship

“Go therefore and MAKE DISCIPLES of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.” Matthew 28:19-20 NKJV 

Most Christians are familiar with the Great Commission, where Jesus instructed us to go and make disciples of all nations. But the other part of the Great Commission is just as important, which is to go into all the world and preach the Gospel. We are commanded to do both and both are equally important. But one has to do with salvation and the other discipleship. They are not the same thing, but too often these get blurred together because many don’t understand the differences.

In fact, the number one reason why the Gospel message gets distorted and communicated incorrectly is that people take Bible verses out of context and apply them where they don’t belong. And the worst of this happens when people don’t understand the difference between salvation and discipleship. They’ll take verses that apply discipleship, dealing with people after they are saved, and apply them to salvation, saying that these verses reveal things you have to do to get saved or to stay saved. When that happens, you end up with an unbiblical, works-based view of salvation that is not the Gospel. 

So understanding the differences between salvation and discipleship is critical if we are to communicate the Gospel correctly. This is part 1 of a 5 part series to do just that: build a foundational understanding of salvation versus discipleship so that the Gospel message can be communicated correctly.

In the five parts to this series, I’ll go through 12 key differences between salvation and discipleship. 

Part 1: Foundational Differences Between Salvation and Discipleship

#1 – Definition and What’s Required?
#2 – When Does Each Occur?
#3 – What’s the Result? 
#4 – Cost?
#5 – Frequency?

Part 2: Rewards of Salvation Versus Discipleship

#6 – What You Receive?
#7 – What are the Rewards Based On?
#8 – Successful Result?
#9 – Failed Result?
#10 – Where Judged?

Part 3: Role of Repentance in Salvation Versus Discipleship

#11 – Role of Repentance?

Part 4: Sureness of Salvation Versus Discipleship

#12 – Sureness Of?

Part 5: Timeline View of Salvation Versus Discipleship

Let’s begin Part 1 – Foundational Differences Between Salvation and Discipleship. And let’s start with some definitions. 

 

Salvation 

In the New Testament, two Greek words are used:
Sōzō means “to save.” (verb)
Sōtēria means “salvation” or “deliverance.” (noun)

These words imply a rescue from some life-threatening danger, and specifically in the Bible, rescuing us from the condemnation and power of sin and death.

The Bible teaches that salvation is something God did for us through Jesus.

What is our part in salvation?

The Philippian jailer asked Paul that very question: “What must I do to be saved?” Paul responded, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…” Acts 16:30-31

Salvation is something God give us in response to believing in Jesus.

 

Discipleship

The Greek word for “disciple” is mathētēs, which is from the word manthanō (“to learn”). A disciple is a pupil or learner. In Greek culture, a mathētēs was someone who attached himself to another to gain knowledge, instruction or experience: An apprentice.

The 12 “disciples” were apprentices of Jesus.

Where salvation is something God does for us, discipleship is something we do with God’s help.

Jesus said: “The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.” Luke 6:40

From this, we see that the goal of discipleship is NOT knowledge. The goal is to become like your master. So a disciple of Christ is one who becomes like Jesus.

 

Order of Salvation Versus Discipleship

There is an order to salvation and discipleship: We are first saved and then we become disciples of Christ. So when examining Bible verses, it becomes very important to discern when those verses apply: Do they apply to someone who is not saved yet, so they have to do with salvation? Or are they directed toward people who are already saved?  

So with these definitions, let’s look at what’s required of each.

#1 – What’s Required?

Salvation:  Believe in Jesus as Savior 

Eternal salvation means being saved forever. But saved from what? To understand that, we must recognize Who God is? People like to think of God as a God of love, and the Bible does say that “God is love” (1 John 4:8). His very essence is love. But the Bible also teaches that God is holy, which means “set apart.” It speaks of God being so pure, righteous and undefiled that He is set apart from all creation. The Bible declares:

Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts.” Isaiah 6:3

This holy nature of God is so important that the word “holy” is repeated three times. There is no sin in God, no unrighteousness whatsoever. God is totally pure. And that’s a big problem for us, because man isn’t. God created man with free will and in his free will, man chose to sin, to do wrong. In fact, the Bible says:

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” and that “…the wages of sin is death…” Romans 3:23, 6:23

God is so pure, so holy, that He must judge sin. He cannot let sin go by forever and ignore it. If He did, He would no longer be holy and pure. So the Bible warns us that all have sinned, every one of us, and that the wages of sin is death. A wage is something we have earned, and what we have earned because of our sin is death, which the Bible defines as eternal separation from God in a place of punishment called Hell. God is holy and He will judge all sin. And no matter how many good deeds a person does, it cannot erase the fact that they have sinned. It’s like appearing before a judge after committing a crime and saying, “Yes I did the crime, but see all these other good things I’ve done?” The judge won’t care about all the good things you’ve done. His job is to enforce the law and so he will sentence you for committing the crime. The same is true of God. God is the ultimate, perfect judge. And the sentence for sin is eternal death, being sent to a place of punishment called Hell.

To be “saved” means that you are being rescued from something. And it is this mighty judgment of God and punishment in Hell that you are being rescued from, or saved from. So when we talk about salvation, we are talking about being rescued from what God must do to sinners because of His holiness. And if perfect holiness was God’s only attribute, then we would have no hope. But God is also perfect love. And so, in His perfect love, God has provided a way out, a way for us to be rescued or saved. 

“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.” John 3:16

God saw our hopeless situation and, out of His great love, paid our debt of sin for us by becoming a man, the man Jesus, and dying on the cross. His death, the blood He shed on the cross, pays the penalty for our sin. 

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

This means there is only one way to get to heaven, which is by Jesus. Trying to be a good person won’t get you there. Jesus is the ONLY way of salvation. Apart from Jesus, our debt of sin remains for God to judge. We receive salvation as a free gift of God’s grace. The only requirement to receive that gift is by believing in Jesus, trusting that His death pays for all of your sins.  

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Romans 10:9

Jesus is God, who died to pay our debt of sin for us. But more than that, He rose from the dead to show us the eternal life that He offers to those who are saved. So salvation is received by trusting is Jesus and the gift of salvation includes two things: First, our debt of sin is paid 100% by Jesus’ death and, second, with our debt now paid in full, God gives us eternal life.  

““”Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” John 5:24

Believing on Jesus, trusting only in Him for salvation, is a one-time act that causes our debt of sin to be wiped clean.  Once that happens, we possess the gift of everlasting life. It is what Jesus referred to as being “born again” (John 3:3). And as it says here, we have passed from death to life. It is a one-time event. And from that moment on, we have eternal life.

Discipleship: Abide in Jesus and Obey Him as Lord 

Discipleship, on the other hand, is not a one-time event. Discipleship means “following” Jesus, becoming His apprentice, becoming like Him. It means living for Jesus every day, offering yourself to God daily as a living sacrifice and making Him the Lord of your life, following His example. A disciple is an apprentice who is trying to become like his Master, obeying Him in all things and allowing God’s Word and the Holy Spirit to transform him or her to be like Christ. It requires abiding in Jesus daily after you are saved. Jesus said: 

“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” John 15:5

The word “abide” means “to dwell,” “to continue,” “to stay.” It means making the conscious decision every day to dwell in His presence, to stay with Him and allow His presence and Word to permeate and transform your life. Abiding in Jesus, staying in Him throughout each day, will affect your behavior, allowing you to do something you could never do before: turn from sin and obey God. There’s a lot more I’ll say about obedience and turning from sin as we go through this five-part series. But for now, we see from these verses that our abiding in Christ has an effect on our obedience to God and our ability to bear fruit for God. 

“He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked.” 1 John 2:6

As we abide daily in Christ, we become living sacrifices, offering ourselves daily to God for His pleasure and purpose:

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2

By abiding in Christ daily, becoming living sacrifices, through our obedience to God we can gain assurance that we are indeed saved.

“And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep His commandments.” 1 John 2:3

This verse gives us one way that we can tell if we are truly saved: if we keep His commandments. Our obedience to God is one way we can see for ourselves that we are saved, because God is working inside of us to do something we could never do before we were saved, which is obey Him. A lost person cannot obey God, because the Holy Spirit is not inside of him or her. So this verse is addressed to people who are already saved, who are becoming disciples of Christ, to let them know how they can tell their salvation is real.

If we who claim to be saved are not obeying God’s commandments, that either means we are temporarily sliding back into sin or were never really saved to begin with. That’s not a good situation either way. A person saved by the grace of God will have a changed life, becoming more and more like Jesus.

“And this is love, that we walk after His commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.” 2 John 1:6

 This is another verse addressed to disciples of Christ who are already saved, telling us that this is how we can know that we love God, if we walk after His commandments.

These two verses are about discipleship, what someone should experience AFTER they are saved. We should see a change in that person’s behavior to where they start walking after God and obeying His commandments. However, sometimes people take verses like this out of context and misapply them to salvation, for example, saying that to be saved or to stay saved, you must obey God’s commandments. That is a totally incorrect application of these verses. What you end up with is a works-based gospel message that says believing in Jesus is not enough, that you also have to do your part and obey God’s commandments. The Gospel message gets distorted into “another gospel” that is based on works, things YOU must do, instead of relying solely on the grace of God and the things Jesus did for you. The true Gospel is about Jesus’ obedience and His sacrifice, not yours.

This is why it is important to interpret verses like this in context and to understand the difference between salvation and discipleship. If you don’t, the Gospel message becomes lost.

Here’s another example: 

“Because it is written, be ye holy; for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:16

While this command to be holy came from the Old Testament and revealed Who God is, the Apostle Peter used it here to address the Church, those who were already saved. This context is important because only a saved person has the Holy Spirit inside them, enabling them to live a holy life. So this is a verse about discipleship, not salvation. As disciples of Christ, we are expected to live holy lives with the help of the Holy Spirit in us.

This verse cannot be applied to salvation. If you tell an unsaved person they must be holy to be saved, you are putting an impossible task in front of them. A more correct way would be to tell them that God desires all people to be holy and will help them do that if they place their trust in Jesus to be saved. Salvation comes first.

The only thing an unsaved person can do is recognize his or her lost condition and believe in Jesus for salvation. It is impossible for them to turn away from sin before they are saved because they don’t yet have the Holy Spirit in them. After they are saved, God will work in them through His Holy Spirit to transform them, enabling them to turn away from sin toward holiness. That is the process of being sanctified, of becoming a disciple. So this is a verse about discipleship and it should never be applied as a condition for salvation. That’s why it’s important to understand the difference.

So the requirement for salvation is believing in Jesus, while the requirement for discipleship is abiding in Jesus and living for Jesus as Lord, resulting in obedience and holiness.

#2 – When Does Each Occur?

Salvation:  When you are not saved – “Come unto Me”

Salvation is the act of being saved. It is Jesus calling out to the lost saying, “Come unto Me.” 

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

Salvation involves resting in what Christ has done for us. We rest from our labor of trying unsuccessfully to please God. We rest from trying to earn His approval or to be a good person. Our debt of sin is wiped away, not because of any good deed we did, but because God came to rescue the lost.

“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10

Salvation is a gift. It is a single act that God does for us through Jesus. It is not something we earn. The only thing we do is receive this gift by faith, by trusting in Jesus.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23

The gift that God offers is eternal life and it occurs one time, the moment we place our trust in Jesus.

Discipleship: After you are saved – “Come after Me”

Discipleship begins the moment you are saved and continues until the day you go to be with the Lord. It is the daily act of following Jesus, making Him the Lord of your life, and allowing yourself to be transformed from who you were before you were saved into the very image of Jesus, obeying God and following in Jesus’ footsteps.

“Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” Matthew 16:24

Discipleship is following Jesus. But can you see how this verse could be taken out of context and misapplied to salvation? Some have done this, saying that to be saved, you must deny yourself, take up your cross and follow every command Jesus ever gave. They say that if you don’t do this, you won’t be saved or you could lose your salvation. This results in a false, works-based Gospel, saying that Jesus’ death on the cross was not enough to save you. You must do your part. This distorts the Gospel from being a free gift to now being something you must earn or keep by your own works. That is a false Gospel. And it is all because they didn’t understand the difference between salvation and discipleship.  

Look at the verse in context: “Then Jesus said to His disciples…”  Jesus was speaking to His disciples, not the unsaved. There is nothing in this verse that refers to salvation. If you take verses out of context, you will end up with a false Gospel.

How about this verse:

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

Notice that Ephesians 2:8-9 are about salvation, telling us that salvation is the gift of God’s grace based solely on faith in Christ, while the very next verse, Ephesians 2:10, is about discipleship that follows salvation and how, after we are saved, our walk of discipleship should result in good works. Salvation is not based in any way on our good works. That would defeat salvation being a free gift. We are saved by God’s grace through faith in Christ and then, after we are saved, as disciples we should exhibit good works.

We can see that verse 10 has to do with our walk AFTER salvation by the verse itself, where it says

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works…”

It is being “in Christ Jesus” that leads us “unto good works.” You don’t have good works apart from being in Christ Jesus. And you don’t have Christ Jesus in you until you are saved. So verse 10 is about good works that occur AFTER salvation, AFTER a person has already been born again, created in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:10 then, referring to our good works, is a verse about discipleship, not salvation.  

This is an example of why it’s important to be able to discern the difference between salvation and discipleship. Because if you take Ephesians 2:10 and mistakenly think that we need to do good works to be saved or to stay saved, then you again end up with an incorrect works-based understanding of the Gospel. You end up thinking that to be saved or stay saved, you have to do good works in addition to believing in Christ. But that’s not correct. Salvation is by faith alone in Christ. It’s a fee gift, not something we earn. Then, after we are saved, Christ in us leads us unto good works as we become disciples of Jesus.

Following Jesus is the daily act of walking as He walked.

“…that ye might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;” Colossians 1:9-10

“He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” 1 John 2:6

So discipleship occurs AFTER salvation. We can’t walk as He walked until after we are saved, after we have the Holy Spirit living in us.

#3 – What’s The Result?

Salvation: SAVED – Forgiven, Debt of Sin Paid, Eternal Life, Indwelt by Holy Spirit, Reconciled to God

When we are saved by placing our faith in the blood of Christ as payment for our sins, several things happen. Immediately, we are forgiven. Our entire debt of sin before God is wiped clean.

“In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Colossians 1:14

Notice that it is through Jesus’ blood sacrifice that we obtain forgiveness for our sins. God doesn’t just show us mercy and forgiveness because He’s a loving God. He pays our debt, the penalty for which is death. We stand condemned before God because of our sinfulness. But then, our debt of sin before God is paid in full by Jesus shedding His blood on the cross and dying in our place.  

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 8:1

God isn’t bound by time like we are. He sees our entire lives from beginning to end. Therefore, when the Bible says that there is “no condemnation” for those in Christ Jesus, this means that God has forgiven ALL sins – Past, present and future. There are some who say that God only forgives past sins the moment we are saved and, therefore, future sins are not covered by the blood of Jesus, which means you could lose your salvation. This is totally false. I have another video that goes into this topic in depth, so please check that out if you are unsure. 

Instead, God’s forgiveness is complete, covering past, present and future sins. And with this forgiveness, we receive eternal life.

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23

Additionally, at the very moment we place our trust in Christ for salvation, God’s Holy Spirit indwells us, which means He comes to live inside of us, and God seals us with His Holy Spirit until the day of redemption, when our mortal flesh will be replaced with immortal bodies. 

“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1:13-14

This sealing of the Holy Spirit is something unique that did not happen before the cross. In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit came and went. Saul and Samson are examples of this, where the Holy Spirit came upon them for a time but then left them.

But in the New Testament, the Holy Spirit comes at the moment of salvation and seals the person who places their trust is Christ. A seal is a permanent stamp of ownership. God puts His seal on us who are saved, showing that we are now His. He owns us. That’s why this verse refers to a believer as “a purchased possession.” 1 Corinthians 6:20 says, “you were bought with a price.” Once you place your faith in Jesus, God now owns you.

That seal means that God’s Holy Spirit comes to live inside us permanently. That is what enables us to do what we could not do before: obey God and love Him. And that is why telling an unsaved person that they must first repent of their sins to be saved is not only incorrect, but impossible, because they don’t have the Holy Spirit in them that would enable them to turn from sin. Turning from sin is important, but it occurs after salvation. It occurs in discipleship.

The only thing an unsaved person can do is recognize their lost condition, their sinfulness, which is critical for them to understand their need for salvation. That is what we need to help them see. They won’t turn to believe in Jesus unless they first recognize how lost they are on account of their sin. But recognizing their lost condition is as far as an unsaved person can go. They cannot fully repent and turn from their sin and clean up their lives without first having the Holy Spirit in them. That act of cleaning up the sin in their lives is a part of discipleship, not salvation. Before salvation, once an unsaved person recognizes how lost they are, the only repenting that they need to do, or can do, is to repent from unbelief to belief in Jesus. The rest of repentance, the cleaning up of sin and learning to walk in holiness, happens after salvation. That is a life-long process called “sanctification.” I’ll address this topic of repentance in detail in Part 3 of this series.

But for now, the sealing of the Holy Spirit in us is God’s guarantee that we can never lose our salvation. Nowhere in the New Testament is there even one example of any saved person becoming unsealed, losing the Holy Spirit. No. God declares that we are sealed until the day of redemption. The day of redemption is when God claims us and gives us the bodies we will have for all eternity.

And more than being sealed, we are reconciled to God, which means we are instantly brought back into a right relationship with Him.

“Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” Romans 5:9-10

Discipleship: SANCTIFIED – Made Holy, Become Like Christ, Unto Good Works, Obedience, Fellowship with God

Whereas with salvation we are SAVED, in discipleship we are SANCTIFIED, which means made holy. Discipleship begins the moment you are saved and will continue the rest of your life. It is the process of sanctification, where God’s Holy Spirit, now sealed inside you, works to lead you into holiness. The word “sanctify” means “to make holy.” 

“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly;” 1 Thes. 5:23

“Be ye holy; for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15

The moment we are saved, God begins to transform us into being like Christ. He leads us into good works and helps us do what we could not do before: walk in obedience. 

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” Romans 8:14

“He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked.” 1 John 2:6

We become true disciples, following Jesus and walking as He walked.

“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” Matthew 16:24

“…that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;” Colossians 1:9-10

Then, as we become more and more like Jesus, we are led into intimate fellowship with God.

“God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:9

 

#4 – Cost?

Salvation: Nothing!

We do not earn our salvation. You are not saved by trying to be a good person. That’s because God’s standard is His own perfection and, therefore, no one is “good.” Instead, salvation is a free gift of God, obtained only by His grace, or unmerited favor, which means we don’t deserve it.  That grace operates when we place our faith in Jesus alone for salvation. 

“For the wages of sin is death; but the GIFT of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the GIFT of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

“Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the FREE GIFT came upon all men unto justification of life.” Romans 5:18

“Justification” means the act of declaring someone “just.” When we place our faith in Jesus, believing in our hearts that He died to pay for our sins, God wipes away all sins from our records and declares us to be just or righteous. It is not our justness or righteousness He sees, but it is the justness and righteousness of Christ that is given to us. Once we are saved, we walk in HIS righteousness.

Jesus said this to the woman at the well in John, chapter 4:

“If thou knewest the GIFT of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.” John 4:10

Salvation is a gift that costs nothing.

Discipleship: Potentially Everything!

Discipleship, on the other hand, can be very costly. It can cost you potentially everything. This world is in rebellion against God and against anyone who tries to live for God. All the apostles except for John where martyred for Christ. In some parts of the world today, new converts to Christianity are immediately told to prepare to die after they place their trust in Christ. That’s because living for Jesus or even identifying with Jesus can cost you your freedom, your possessions and your life. Yet, that is what we are called to do as disciples: Live for Christ no matter the cost, as faithful witnesses to what God has done.

Jesus said:  

“He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” Matthew 10:37

“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” Matthew 16:24

“So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:33

All these verses apply to discipleship, not salvation. An unsaved person is never told to forsake all that he has to be saved. That would defeat salvation from being a free gift. But that’s what happens when you take a verse that applies to discipleship and misapply it, out of context, to salvation.

Not all of us are called to lose everything for Christ, yet if we are to be His disciples, that is what each of us should be willing to do. As the apostle Paul said:

“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,” Philippeans 3:7-8

Jesus warns us that we should expect that there will be a cost to becoming His disciple:

“The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you;” John 15:20

So while salvation is a free gift, discipleship could cost you everything.

And then, lastly for Part 1 of this series:

#5 – Frequency?

Salvation: Occurs One Time

At salvation, we are born again. We do not then go through the rest of our lives continually losing salvation when we sin and being reborn, over and over. No. It happens one time, the moment we place our faith in Jesus as the One who paid our debt of sin to God by dying on the cross. 

“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.” John 3:3

Note the singularity of what Jesus said. We are not reborn multiple times. He said, “Except a man be born again” – one time. The result of this single rebirth is that we are immediately transformed into a new creation, moving from condemnation and death to everlasting life.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. John 5:24

Notice how this verse assures us that we can never lose our salvation, saying that because we believed in Jesus, we have everlasting life as our possession and have already passed from death to life, past tense. God’s not waiting until the end of our lives to make some final decision about whether we’ve lived obediently enough to get into heaven. No. He declares, past tense, that we have already passed from death to life the moment we trusted in Christ. And in the New Testament, there is not one example of anyone passing backwards from life to death, losing their salvation. Part 4 of this series deals with our security in Christ, so more will be said about this later. But for now, once we are saved, we can rest with full assurance that we are secure in Christ. All that happens when we believe in Jesus as our Savior.

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Romans 10:9

We can rest in our salvation, knowing that it is not up to us to keep ourselves saved. God takes that responsibility. 

“Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,” Jude 24

Notice that it is God Himself who takes the responsibility to keep you from falling, to keep you from losing your salvation. The security of your salvation is not up to your own faithfulness, but God’s. Once we place our trust in Jesus, we are eternally secure because of God’s faithfulness. This is what it means to enter into God’s rest. We can rest from all of our works of trying to obtain God’s favor for salvation and, instead, trust solely in the finished work of Jesus.

Discipleship: Occurs Every Day After Salvation

Discipleship begins the moment you are saved and continues until the day you die. It is the daily act of surrendering yourself to the will of God, not for salvation or to keep your salvation which is already secure, but to become more and more like Jesus. 

“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.” Luke 9:23

As Jesus disciples, we are called to present ourselves as living sacrifices and to not be conformed to this world. 

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:1-2

“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31

All these verses are about discipleship, not salvation.

Paul sums up what is means to be a daily disciple of Christ: 

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

Discipleship means allowing Christ to live in you every day AFTER you are saved.

So that concludes Part 1 of this series. This was designed to lay the foundation, distinguishing salvation from discipleship.

In Part 2, we’ll go through the rewards of salvation verses discipleship.

Part 2: Rewards of Salvation Versus Discipleship

#6 – What You Receive?
#7 – What are the Rewards Based On?
#8 – Successful Result?
#9 – Failed Result?
#10 – Where Judged?

Finally, I do this in all my videos, if you are not 100% sure that you are saved, that if you died today, God would welcome you into heaven, I urge you to make your commitment to Jesus secure right now. Here’s a prayer for salvation that you can pray. But keep in mind that a prayer does not save you. You are saved only when you place your trust in Jesus alone, believing in your heart that He died to pay your debt of sin to God and that He rose from the dead to show you the eternal life that He offers. This prayer, then, is just a way of formalizing that decision, putting a stake in the ground, saying that you are trusting in Him and never going back. If that’s what you would like to do, please pray with me:

“Lord, I have sinned and I need you to save me. I believe that Your Son Jesus died on the cross to pay for my sins and that He rose from the dead to show us the new eternal life You have for us. I believe solely in Jesus to save me, that He paid my debt of sin 100%. Please forgive my sins and save me now, Lord, according to your promises. In Jesus Name.”


Once Saved.org ©2024. All Rights Reserved.