Only those who have repented, exercised faith, experienced the new birth, and have received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit will obtain salvation. These believers will obey and be faithful disciples of Christ. Discipleship is necessarily a part of the Christian faith.
Discipleship is strongly emphasized by the Lord. He said that only those who obey and are faithful disciples will obtain redemption. Jesus said, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 7:21), and "He that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it" (Matthew 10:38, 39; cf. Luke 9:23, 24). Likewise He says, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it" (Matthew 16:24, 25; cf. Mark 8:34, 35). Jesus told His followers, "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death" (John 8:31, 32, 51).
This obedience Jesus calls for is possible only through the new birth and the empowering of the Holy Spirit. It results from being set free from sin and receiving a new love for Jesus (John 8:31-38). "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. . . . If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me" (14:21-24).
John explains this further in his first epistle.
Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? I John 5:1-5
from Redemption Realized Through Christ, © copyright 1996 by Leland M. Haines, Northville, MI.
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