Becoming a Christian is simple but becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ is hard work. In fact, it costs nothing to become a Christian or “believer,” the word used in the Bible most often for a Christian. As the Bible teaches, It is a free gift of God. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; It is the free gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
If you want to be sure that will spend eternal life with God in heaven, all you have to do according to the Bible, is place your faith in Jesus Christ to save you. Jesus died on a cross to pay for all your sins. Jesus is the only person in history how has ever made the claim, “When you kill me, I will rise again from the dead in three days.” He not only made this claim, but He kept His word, proving that He is God. If you believe this truth, then through faith, Jesus will save you. You can talk to Him right now and receive His free gift of eternal life by praying this simple prayer of faith:
Jesus, I believe that you are God and died on a cross to save me from my sin. Please save me now. I place my faith in You and am willing to receive your gift of eternal life and a personal relationship with You forever. Thank You for saving me. Amen.
However simple it may be to receive the free gift of eternal life, it can cost you everything to become a disciple of Jesus. “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:27).
Notice Jesus doesn’t say you must “carry your own cross and come after Him” to become a “believer,” He says you must do these things to become His “disciple.” This verse is actually two of the seven conditions of discipleship taught in the Bible. Please don’t make the mistake of thinking you have to become a disciple of Jesus to get into heaven, as this would make your salvation a “contract” with God instead of the free gift of eternal life. If you think a Christian and a disciple of Jesus are the same thing, we will take a closer look at the differences in a moment.
The Bible teaches that your salvation is a promise of God, not a contract requiring you to do certain things or not do certain things. Should you do certain things after becoming a believer? ABSOLUTELY. That is the purpose of this series “Christian or disciple,” but it cannot be said you have to do or not do certain things to keep or maintain our salvation, as this would be a different Gospel of works, which the Bible clearly refutes.
“…Know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will b justified” (Galatians 2:16). “Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” (John 6:28-29). “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,” (Ephesians 1:13). “Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise” (Galatians 4:28). “for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29).
Because your salvation is a free gift and a promist of God, not a contract, you can enjoy this gift given purely out of God’s love for you. We certainly don’t deserve it, which is why the Bible teaches your salvation is given to you out of God’s love and grace.
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” (Ephesians 1:7). “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it” (Ephesians 4:7). “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
So why would anyone want to become a disciple of Jesus if it costs so much? Allow me to give you 7 reasons why every Christian should strive to become a disciple of Jesus. Please keep in mind, this has nothing to do with any particular denomination. Discipleship is every Christian’s calling in this life, given to us personally by Jesus, and should be every believers goal.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20).