A post with my church family in mind.
This last Sunday, we heard from Jesus about the characteristics which must be common to those who are true followers (Luke 14:25-35). They are sobering in their scope, and I ended the service asking all those in attendance to take some time in the coming week to sit down and count the cost of what it means to be a true follower. Maybe by asking the question,
"Are these 'components' (again, Luke 14:25-35) present in me so that I am the 'salt' that Jesus describes I must be in this world?"
And then, this question came in a few days ago,
"Is being a disciple different than being a born-again Christian? Did [Sunday's] message infer that you can lose your salvation?"
These are good questions in light of what Jesus has said. In response to the first: being a disciple is not different from being a born-again Christian. You can't be one without the other. In other words:
You can only be a disciple of Jesus if you have been born-again. And, if you have been truly born-again, you are a disciple of King Jesus (being a disciple means you follow him, obeying all that he teaches, and living in the way that he commands).
And, in response to the second: only the listener can decide if I inferred you could lose your salvation. I did not say that, and I don't think I inferred it. But allow me to clarify. Maybe one would come to that conclusion by thinking something like this in response to what I said,
"If this is what Jesus is saying it means to BE a disciple, to be truly born-again; if these things must be qualities I possess to be his 'salt' in this world, and I don't have them, I fear....am I truly his disciple?"
To that question, consider...
(1) None of us are perfect followers of Jesus Christ. Therefore, we may ponder the challenge of Jesus in this text (Luke 14:25-35), and in the parables following which display his heart and mission priority (Luke 15:1-32), and find ourselves lacking in what he describes. And in response, we might repent, with the desire and commitment to bring ourselves into alignment with his expressed will. All the while, doing so as true disciples.
I pray it may it be so; that as good disciples of Jesus Christ, our response to such teaching is repentance and growth in obedience.
(2) However, it may be that some in the church family have been fooling themselves. This is a good conviction to come under, and is a grace from the Holy Spirit. For Paul writes to the members of the church that we should examine ourselves, to see whether we are truly in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5).