Is There A Difference Between A Believer And A Disciple?

Q. I was hoping you could clarify something for me. Specifically, I know I am saved because of what I believe. That being said, when Jesus talks about being a disciple, he talks about leaving family, friends, and everything behind to follow him. I understand he was talking about those around him at the time yet at the same time, we are challenged to become a disciple. Is there a difference between being saved and being a disciple?

A. I believe you’re referring to Luke 14:25-27.

Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”

This is a reference to the first commandment. In effect Jesus was saying that we’re not to venerate anything more than God, but are to love Him with all our heart, soul and mind (Matt.22:37). In the historical sense, He knew that many were following Him just because He fed them and healed their sick. But the same idea holds true today. When we come to the Lord we’re to make our whole beings a living sacrifice to Him. It’s our spiritual act of worship, the expression of our gratitude for being saved. (Romans 12:2)

A disciple is a follower, or student. In Matt. 28:19 He told the 11 to make disciples of all nations (people). I think  He was implying there should be no difference between being saved and being a disciple.

Like it is with all things concerning the Lord this is a matter of the heart, not a requirement for specific behavior. We’re not being told to go off and abandon our responsibilities, but to make Him our first love by such a wide margin that our feelings for home and family or anything else that distracts us from loving Him are almost like hate in comparison.

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