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Salvation vs. Discipleship; Easy Believism vs. Lordship Salvation

Discussion in 'Struggles by Non-Christians' started by Bob8102, Feb 3, 2022.

  1. Bob8102

    Bob8102 Member

    United States
    I understand that I am a Christian since yesterday. But I post this here because of my recent doubts of my salvation and because it may relate to questions some non-Christians may have about salvation.

    Some people separate out salvation from discipleship but others say you cannot have one without the other. Those who say you can be saved without becoming a disciple get accused of promoting easy believism by those who promote lordship salvation. I also heard on the radio about a couple of Christians who were having a discussion one night involving taking the next step in total devotion in the Christian life. Both were presented as being Christians already but one or both that night made the decision to REALLY commit to the Lord, regardless of consequences. To me, I see nothing in the Bible which indicates you can become a Christian in stages. It seems Jesus requires an all-out commitment from the get-go. That’s why He and many Christians talk about counting the cost. So I have long discounted easy believism.

    I have a fairly well-known devotional book called My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. I have been reading it daily for some months now. It was given to me by a Christian friend who told me that it is for mature Christians. Its devotions are hard-hitting and to the point. It has no fluff. The author seems to do his best to make the reader doubt their salvation. But the reading for yesterday and today, February 2 and 3, contain passages that seem totally out of step with the rest of the book. Yesterday’s devotion has in it the following words: “There is nothing easier than getting saved because it is the Lord’s sovereign work – Come unto Me and I will save you. Our Lord never lays down the conditions of discipleship as the conditions of salvation. We are condemned to salvation through the Cross of Jesus Christ. Discipleship has an option to it – ‘IF any man…’ “ Today’s devotion says ‘We have discreet affinities that keep us out of the mire - I won’t stoop, I won’t bend. You do not need to, you can be saved by the skin of your teeth if you like; you can refuse to let God count you as one separated unto the gospel.” For a man who elsewhere says ‘those who have a flippant familiarity with God have never stood in His presence,’ these February words seem out of place.

    If one such as Oswald Chambers separates salvation from discipleship, maybe I should pay more attention to easy believism. But, as I said, the gist of the Bible’s teachings on salvation seem to link it with discipleship and to counter the assertions of easy believsim. By the way, when I became a Christian yesterday, I was giving no heed to easy believism. However, I do insist that though my faith wavers, Jesus does not waver and His hold on me does not waver.

    So, what about this matter of separating discipleship from salvation?
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  2. Maria Billingsley

    Maria Billingsley Well-Known Member Supporter

    United States
    In Relationship
    I have never heard of this. What I do know is once you have recieved His Holy Spirit by relinquishing all to Jesus Christ of Nazareth then you are in The Body of Christ aka a disciple. But none of this is possible if the heart is in the wrong place. We love Him first.
  3. aiki

    aiki Regular Member

    They go together, definitely. Salvation is the first step into discipleship. In the New Testament, people were saved in order to become disciples of Jesus. The idea of being saved, being born-again spiritually (John 3:3-8), apart from a life of discipleship was entirely foreign to the earliest Christian believers.

    Matthew 28:18-20
    18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
    19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
    20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

    Jesus didn't go around preaching just the Gospel but taught also of what it was to be his disciple. (Matthew 10; Luke 14:25-33) His first followers were disciples, not merely believers in him. They left their lives as fishermen, tax collectors, and whatever else to be with Jesus, to learn from him in the Jewish way, which meant to take up his mannerisms, his style of speech, his doctrine, his values and ethics, to make themselves as much like Jesus as they were able.

    Well, what did Jesus say? Can one be in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ without God being who He is: Lord Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth, the King of Kings, Ruler Over All?

    Matthew 16:24-26
    24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.
    25 "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
    26 "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

    1 Samuel 2:2-10
    2 There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside you: neither is there any rock like our God.
    3 Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.
    4 The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength.
    5 They that were full have hired out themselves for bread; and they that were hungry ceased: so that the barren has born seven; and she that has many children is waxed feeble.
    6 The LORD kills, and makes alive: he brings down to the grave, and brings up.
    7 The LORD makes poor, and makes rich: he brings low, and lifts up.
    8 He raises up the poor out of the dust, and lifts up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD'S, and he has set the world upon them.
    9 He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.
    10 The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the LORD shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed.

    Did Jesus behave with his disciples as anything other than their Master? No, he was always their leader, the one who directed them, corrected them, and taught them.

    John 13:12-16
    12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you?
    13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am.
    14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.
    15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.
    16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.

    Of necessity, we are always in relationship with God as inferior to a boundless Superior. There is no other dynamic under which we as created beings, utterly dependent upon God for our very existence, in every way less than Him in an indescribable degree, can relate with Him. It is astonishing, then, that anyone would properly understand God's nature and think to deal with Him as a near-equal.

    Yeah, this "I commit myself" or "I dedicate myself" is just Self-effort, at bottom, an attempt by human effort of will to accomplish a divine end. What God requires from us isn't our strength, our concentrated determination, but our submission to (James 4:7), our surrender to (Romans 12:1; Romans 6:13-22), our humbling ourselves under (1 Peter 5:5), Himself.

    There is only one of two states in which a person exists in relation to God: submission or rebellion. We are either under God's control or we are not. If we are not under His control, if we are not submitted to Him, He will not fill us with Himself and we cannot fellowship with Him. So long as we remain on the throne of our hearts, trying to do for God rather than yielding to His will and way and letting Him do for us, God waits, letting us exhaust ourselves and fail - often again and again - in trying to do His work 'til we see that we can't produce a divine end by human means.

    It is only those who are under His control, submitted to Him, that God fills up with Himself. He does not impart Himself, His power and fullness, to those who are in rebellion to Him. What would a rebel do with such a filling but serve himself, enact his own will, using divine power in pursuit of Self-centered goals. And so, God will not fill a rebel with Himself.

    No, God does not require an "all-out commitment." He requires our submission, our yielding to, His will and way. This is the key, not our resolve, our strength or degree of commitment. We are pathetically weak and chronically prone to wandering; we don't have what it takes, in-and-of-ourselves, to endure in a relationship with God.

    Yeah, not really. There is a confused mixture of Self-effort and reliance on God that wends its way through all of the book. I'd suggest instead "The Green Letters" by Miles J. Stanford.

    This is an example of the often apparently contradictory things Chambers wrote in his devotional text. I suspect, if the format had been a little less...pithy, truncated, as devotionals often are, he'd have explained these apparent contradictions. I suppose he expected his readers to sort out what seemed contradictory in his writings in their own study of God's word.

    See above. If there is one thing God makes very clear repeatedly in His word it is that He saves and transforms us, we don't do either thing for Him.

    Philippians 1:6
    Philippians 2:13
    Philippians 4:13
    2 Corinthians 3:18
    1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
    1 Peter 5:10-11
    Jude 1:24-25

    Our "job," if you like, is to receive, remain in, and reflect the work of God in us. We are "branches," "vessels," "sheep," "children," and "bond-servants" to God through Christ, all of which analogies indicate our dependency and inferiority in our walk with God (John 15:5; 2 Timothy 2:21; John 10:1-14; Romans 8:15; Romans 6:13-22). We will never find in our own will and power what is required to live as God wants us to. Only God can make us godly.
  4. Clare73

    Clare73 Blood-bought

    True faith saves.
    True faith obeys (discipleship).

    But it is not faith's discipleship which saves, it is only faith itself, apart from faith's works which saves (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 4:2).

    And that's because "Salvation is the Lord's!" (Revelation 7:10, Revelation 19:1),
    his and his alone! (Revelation 4:11, Revelation 7:12)
    Man cannot say he contributed anything. . .whatsoever! (Ephesians 2:9; Romans 4:2).
    For God neither gives to nor shares his glory with another! (Isaiah 48:5, Isaiah 42:8).

    Having been to the third heaven (2 Corinthians 12:1-8) and given understanding of its importance and necessity, Paul is most emphatic that salvation and justification are apart from faith's works (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 4:2; Acts 13:39; Romans 3:20-21; Galatians 2:16, Galatians 3:11), but which necessary obedience, however, leads to righteousness (Romans 6:16) leading to holiness (Romans 6:19) of sanctification, which is God's will for the believer (1 Thessalonians 4:3).

    This is the meaning of NT salvation.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2022
  5. Clare73

    Clare73 Blood-bought

  6. aiki

    aiki Regular Member

  7. timf

    timf Regular Member

    One interesting aspect of the "easy believism" and "lordship" dichotomy is that each name was generated by the other side. Both have at their core a legitimate concern. The easy believism people at concerned that the others may mistakenly see their salvation as a result of works. The lordship people see a danger if someone mistakenly thinks they are trusting in Jesus, when they might be trusting in something else.

    Salvation is simply a matter of trusting in Jesus. In order to have assurance, the bible cites some things that can give us certainty.

    Love of the brethren. If we seek to help or serve other Christians we may have the selfless love described in 1 Cor 13:4-7

    Love of the bible. The bible says that the gospel is foolishness to those that are perishing. The bible may be boring, difficult to understand, or even confusing, but as long as it is not foolishness to you, it can be a comfort.

    Sealed with the Spirit. Galatians 5 describes the fruit of the Spirit. One should be able to observe an increase in these character qualities over time.

    Ephesians 4 describes a process of Christian growth and maturity. It should be understood that we will get things wrong,make mistakes, and even take an occasional wrong turn as we grow in our faith.

    One of the deeds of the flesh (Galatians 5) is hereisis from which we get the word "heresy". In Greek it simply meant divisions. We could probably describe it as denominations.

    One of the problems of divisions is that they tend to turn Christianity into static groups that become prideful for having "gotten it right". In a way they can stifle Christian growth.

    Christianity is presented in many ways. Various presentations include rituals like baptism, acts like saying a particular prayer or "really repenting", or even joining a particular denomination. It can be helpful to consider what the bible says;

    1Co 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
    1Co 15:2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
    1Co 15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
    1Co 15:4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
  8. Clare73

    Clare73 Blood-bought

    Actually, heresy is "a chosen opinion," and in the NT it refers to self-willed erroneous opinions which are substituted for submission to the power of truth and are called sects.
  9. Waymarker

    Waymarker Newbie

    In that case your worries are over so just sit back and enjoy the ride without over-complicating things-
    Paul said- "I'm worried lest you be led astray from the simplicity of Christ" (2 Corinthians 11:3)

    The only people who should worry are nonchristians and atheists because they're like wagons without springs, jolted by every pebble on life's road..:)
  10. 1watchman

    1watchman Overseer Supporter

    Yes, salvation of our soul is different than FOLLOWING teachings of Christ (as 'discipleship'). We either POSSESS the Lord Jeus as our Savior and Lord of our life, or just a religious teacher no more than any man might be. One needs a conversation with Him in prayer and faith, as John 3:16 and John 14 show us.