Monday, June 15, 2009

Weak Discipleship

A great deal of Christianity in America today separates justification from sanctification. That is, we are taught to believe that God only concerns Himself with justifying the sinner (at the moment of conversion) rather than being taught that God calls us to follow Him for life, obediently, living a lifestyle separate from the world. It is often taught that the point of salvation (justification) is the finish line, rather a starting point for a lifetime journey (sanctification).

In truth, discipleship flourishes best when we present the gospel as a journey of transformation, rather than a one-time event. The problem within (much of) Christianity today is that we have taught a faith that does not transform people; but rather that salvation is nothing more than a “go to heaven for free card” with no responsibility to ‘live the life.’ As a consequence, there is often a great disconnect between faith and holiness. In Scripture this kind of Christianity does not exist.

Because this kind of presentation of the gospel is so common today, a number of people believe they have eternal life, when in fact they may not. We make the test for salvation to be ‘mental agreement’ to the ‘facts of the gospel’ rather than being ‘behavioral’ and proven by a transformed life.

Discipleship in America has led to ‘bar-code’ Christians… people who believe the right things and know how to say the right things…. but don’t really follow Jesus in life, character, and conduct. Instead, the gospel requires us to repent of our sins, to believe, and follow Jesus daily. Making disciples compels us to learn and obey everything Christ taught – not just a one-time event of making a ‘profession of faith’ (whatever that is). Jesus said, “By their FRUITS you will know them.” The EVIDENCE of Christianity is living a life of transformation (sanctification). This is not about attempting to ‘earn’ your salvation, but rather the ‘proof’ of salvation.

Never forget that justification and sanctification cannot be separated. In other words, “praying the sinners prayer” is not the finish line; it is the point of beginning for a lifetime journey…. one that require us to be faithful to the end.

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