By: George Zellar
John 8:30-36; Luke 14:25-33; John 6:60-69
(1) Salvation is free and “without price” (Rom. 6:23; Isa. 55:1), although salvation is certainly not cheap (1 Pet. 1:18-19; 1 Cor. 6:20). Discipleship is costly and the cost must be counted (Luke 14:25-33).
(2) Salvation takes place in an instant of time (Acts 2:47). Discipleship is a life-long process (John 8:31; Matthew 28:19-20).
(3) Salvation is believing on Christ (Acts 16:30-31). Discipleship is following Christ (Matt. 4:18- 22) and learning from Him (Matt. 11:29).
(4) Salvation is coming to Christ and finding rest from the burden of sin (Mat- thew 11:28). Discipleship is taking Christ’s yoke and learning from Him (Matthew 11:29).
(5) Salvation involves Christ loving me (Rom. 5:8; Gal. 2:20; John 3:16). Discipleship involves me loving Christ (Matthew 10:37).
(6) A truly saved person is one who believes the gospel (Rom. 1:16; 6:17). A true disciple is one who continues in Christ’s Word (John 8:31).
(7) To be saved a person must fall before the feet of Christ crucified and claim the mercy of God (Luke 18:13). To be a disciple a person must sit at the feet of Christ and hear His Word with a meek and teachable heart (Luke 10:39).
(8) A saved person is a believer (1 John 5:1). A disciple is a learner [the word “disciple” means “a learner, student, pupil, adherent”].
(9) A saved person confesses Christ (Rom. 10:9-10). A disciple denies self (Luke 9:23).
(10) A saved person possesses Christ (1 John 5:12). A true disciple forsakes possessions (Luke 14:33).
(11) Being saved involves trusting (Eph. 1:13). Being a disciple involves training (Matt. 28:19-20).
(12) Salvation involves receiving God’s gift (John 1:12; Eph. 2:8-9). Discipleship involves receiving God’s instruction (Acts 2:42).
(13) Salvation involves one’s standing in Christ (one’s perfect position in Him). Discipleship involves one’s state (one’s actual practice or condition).
(14) Every believer measures up to the full demands of God’s righteousness in Christ (2 Cor. 5:21). Believers often do not measure up to the full demands of discipleship (Luke 14:25-33), but we press on (Phil. 3:13-14).
(15). With salvation the emphasis is upon what God has done (1 Cor. 15:3-4). With discipleship the emphasis is upon what man must do (Luke 14:25-33).
(16) The focus of salvation is upon the finished work of Christ (1 Cor. 1:18). The focus of discipleship is upon the inerrant Word of Christ, His teaching (John 8:31).
(17) Salvation is God’s commitment to His Word based on the work of His Son (Rom. 3:24). Discipleship is the believer’s commitment to Christ’s Word based on his relationship to Christ (John 6:68).
(18) The saved person is a saint (1 Cor. 1:2), perfectly set apart and holy in Christ (a position shared equally by all believers). The disciple is a student (Matt. 11:29). Some believers are better students than others, and not all get the same final grade at the judgment seat of Christ.
(19) The invitation to salvation is “Come unto Me” (John 6:37; Matthew 11:28). The invitation to discipleship us “Come after Me” (Luke 9:23).
(20) Salvation requires obedience to the command to believe (1 John 3:23a; John 3:36). Discipleship requires obedience to all of Christ’s commands (Matthew 28:19-20).
(21) Salvation is the sinner hearing His Word and believing on Him (John 5:24). Discipleship is the saint sitting at His feet and hearing His Word (Luke 10:39).
(22) The sinner must not try to fulfill the demands of discipleship in order to be saved. This would be salvation by works. The saint seeks to fulfill all the demands of discipleship because he is saved. He is saved “unto good works” (Eph. 2:10).
(23) Salvation involves a faith response to the message of the cross (1 Cor. 1:18; 15:1-4). Discipleship involves bearing one’s cross daily (Luke 9:53).
(24) God’s salvation is perfect, lacking nothing (Col. 2:10; 1 Cor. 1:30). My measuring up to the full demands of discipleship is less than perfect, but “I follow after” (Phil. 3:12-13).
(25) To be saved a person must believe on Christ (John 3:16; Acts 16:31). The requirement for salvation is simple faith and trust in the all-sufficient Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. To be a true disciple a person must continue in Christ’s Word, love Christ supremely, deny self, forsake all that he possesses, bear his cross daily, etc. The re- quirements of discipleship are many and they are difficult, but God’s grace is sufficient.
(26) Discipleship (and all that it involves) is not a requirement for salvation. On the other hand, discipleship is the obligation of every saved person.
(27) Every saved person is saved by faith and faith alone (not by obedience or by surrender or by submission or by love for Christ or by giving up possessions, etc.). Every saved person is a follower of Christ because Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice…and they follow Me” (John 10:27). In this sense every saved person is a disciple (follower of Christ), and yet some sheep follow the Shepherd more closely than others.
(28) Salvation relates primarily to justification. Discipleship relates primarily to sanctification. Justification and sanctification are related but they must not be confused. They must be kept distinct. The same is true for salvation and discipleship.
(29) Salvation puts a person into a right relationship with Christ the Teacher. Discipleship is an ongoing relationship and interaction between Teacher and student (a lifelong process).
(30) The terms of salvation must not be blurred; the importance of discipleship must not be minimized.
George W. Zeller has served on the staff of the Middletown Bible Church for more than 40 years. He is a graduate of Grace Theological Seminary where he studied under Dr. John Whitcomb. He has written numerous Sunday School lessons, Bible study materials, doctrinal booklets, and various papers on a wide range of Biblical topics. These studies are accessible at www.middletownbiblechurch.org.