What Does It Mean To Be A Disciple?

The topic of discipleship and building relationships is one that is always close to my heart. Making disciples was very important to Jesus as was evidenced by His example during His earthly ministry. Jesus poured His life into 12 ordinary men and showed them what it means to be a follower of Jesus. One of my favorite books on discipleship is “The Cost of Discipleship” which is written by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I had read this book while I was in school but I just began re-reading this great book (I would highly recommend it).

Many people seemed confused or at the very least unsure about the topic of discipleship. What does it mean to be a disciple? Am I a disciple? Or maybe, what does it mean to be a follower of Jesus Christ? These questions seem easy or simple on the surface. Bonhoeffer’s book talks directly to these questions with great honesty and clarity. It is not my intent to summarize his book but there is one main thought that comes up over and over again in this book. This thought was once again convicting and very humbling for me. Bonhoeffer so beautifully explains that grace given to us from Jesus is not cheap or easy but oh so very costly. Let me explain.

One of the most quoted part of the book deals with the distinction that Bonhoeffer makes between “cheap” and “costly” grace. But what is “cheap” grace? In Bonhoeffer’s words: “cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline. Communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ.” Or, even more clearly, it is to hear the gospel preached as follows: “Of course you have sinned, but now everything is forgiven, so you can stay as you are and enjoy the consolations of forgiveness.” The main problem with this type of thinking is that it contains no demand for discipleship. To just ask forgiveness without repenting of sin is clearly not an idea that comes from the Bible. Repentance has a meaning of stopping what you are doing, turning from it and following the words of Jesus. It is not enough to just say you were sorry and then keep on sinning.

In contrast to this is costly grace: “costly grace confronts us as a gracious call to follow Jesus, it comes as a word of forgiveness to the broken spirit and the contrite heart. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life.” This thought is more in line with Jesus and His teachings. This type of grace shows that we have that ‘broken spirit’ or contrite heart. It is asking forgiveness and being ready to turn away from our sin and live a victorious life. Of course we will never obtain perfection until the return of Christ. However, the point is that true followers of Christ will embrace the entire gospel message of Jesus. These thoughts are far different than what we hear in the world today.

My prayer is that these words will make you stop and think a little.

Humbly,
Pastor Daryl

This daily devotional was written by Pastor Daryl Evans a writer at What Christians Want To Know.  To read more at What Christians Want To Know, follow WCWTK on Facebook for daily Christian encouragement

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