- Parent Category: FAQs
- Category: Questions about Christian Life
- Published on Monday, 14 February 2011 19:17
Is there any difference between a Christian and a disciple? (John 6:66).
Are all Christians disciples?
Luke 14:27, “cannot” Can one be a disciple and not a Christian?
What of Judas (John 12:4). Can we speak correctly of “discipleship” as a call distinct from conversion?
In Acts 11:26 we read “that the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch,” so here the two terms are not to be separated, especially when one remembers that, as I firmly believe, the new name was God-given. The verse runs as in the Revised Version: “And it came to pass, that even for a whole year they were gathered together with the church, and taught much people; and that the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch,” so that the “gathering together,” “the teaching,” and the naming of the disciples in the new way, were three concomitant facts of spiritual significance. The English word, “dis-ciple,” is from the Latin, “dis-co,” “I learn by study,” and is the equivalent in the New Testament of “mathtës,” “a learner” (from “manthanö,” “I learn”). It is certainly used in two meanings like our word “scholar.” A boy goes to school and becomes at once “de facto” a scholar in that school, though he may not yet have learnt anything, but he is regarded according to the intention of his being there. He may not become a “scholar,” in the deeper sense of being proficient for years to come; in fact he may never deserve the name.
So we read in John 4:1, “Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John.” They became disciples by obeying the Lord’s call. They professed themselves His followers and they were marked as such by baptism. But of some such we read in John 6:66, “Many of His disciples went back and walked no more with Him.” But did this take the Lord by surprise? In no way was He surprised, for in ver. 64 we read, “But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not and who should betray him.” When these special disciples became such the Lord knew they were not real. It is the same to-day. Perhaps one of the best proofs that we ever did believe in the Lord Jesus isto be Continuing daily to believe on Him. There is, it is to be feared in these days of easy profession, a possibility of taking ourselves too easily for granted. The exhortation is “that they that have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works” for “faith without works is dead” (Titus 3: 8; James 2:20).
However, there were many who proved themselves true disciples, in the primary sense, but such were called to go on and become disciples in the fuller meaning. To do so meant and ever means a costly thing, as Luke 14:26-33 testifies. It involves the sacrifice of natural ties, of self, yea, of all. Though the word “disciple” does not occur in the New Testament after Acts zi. i6, the verb manthanö occurs often, e.g. Ephesians 4:20; Philippians 4:11; 1 Timothy 2:11; 2 Timothy 3:4 (and for the false thing, see 2 Timothy 3:7); and the commission of Matthew 28:19, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations” (marg. “make disciples of”), carries the thought on throughout the present dispensation, and the truth is prominent in the Epistles.
Philippians 3: is a good example of true discipleship: “What things were gain to me (i.e., as a religious Jew) those I counted (lit. I have counted: hëgmaj) loss for Christ. Yea doubtless and I am counting (hgoumaj) all things but lOSS. . . but dung, that I may win Christ” (Vi’. 7, 8).
A man said to a friend of mine, “I would give the world to have What You’ve got.”
“Well,” replied my friend, with a smile, “that is about what it cost.”