Is There Really A Difference Between A Believer and A Disciple of Jesus?

There are 7 specific things that Jesus said a believer must do, “if” you are to become His disciple.

This makes becoming a disciple “conditional,” while getting save through faith in Jesus is an “unconditional” act of love on God’s part, for those who are willing to receive the free gift of eternal life. Once again, we do this by trusting in Jesus which is placing our “faith” in Him alone. None of the conditions of discipleship are necessary for salvation, but each one is expected and commanded by Jesus. As such, each one will be inspected by Him at the Bema seat judgment of all believers. Sadly, many Christians have never even heard of the Bema seat judgment.

Jesus Himself made a distinction between believers and disciples.

Speaking to believers, Jesus challenges those new Christians to the call of discipleship.

” Even as he spoke, many put their faith in him. To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples” (John 8:30-31).

The Apostle John uses the word “believe” (Greek: pisteuo”) 99 times in His Gospel to dedine someone who is a true Christian or believer. The Apostle John gives us the aixth and seventh conditions of a disciple when Jesus speaks ro an audience of eleven believers who are his closest followers. It is important to not that Judas, while called a disciple, was never a believer (see John 6:60-70). Judas had just been dismissed by Jesus, when He said: 

“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).

“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” (John 15:8).

Jesus could have said, “prove to be Christians,” but He didn’t. He said that fruit-bearing proves that we are His disciples. The Greek work for disciples is mathetes and means, in a general sense,, one who is a follower or a learner of another’s teaching. As said previously, Jesus reserves this term for those believers who meet seven specific conditions. Understanding this distinction clears up many difficult passages of Scripture.

Do we have to produce fruit to prove that we are believers? No. To say that we MUST produce some evidence of our salvation, (i.e. works or faith), after we receive Christ as our Lord & Savior, requires some means of tangible measurement or we remain hopelessly in limbo as to whether we are saved or not saved. This is not the gospel of God’s grace and there is nowhere in the Bible that we can go to quantify how much fruit or how many good deeds would seal your salvation if this were true. Is an apple enough? Perhaps an apple and a pear? Or is it a bushel basket or maybe a roomful? Thank God He saves us by grace and not by good deeds.

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