I have been studying and teaching Bible doctrine for over 48 years and the shepherding teacher for home based Churches. Sola Scriptura
Knowledge Alone Has Saved No One.
What Do the Churches and the Devil(s) Have in Common?
They both believe!
James 2:19 - Thou believest there is one God; thou doest well: the devils ALSO believe, and tremble.
The moral of the story is that believing alone does not save a soul. Believing something to be true is not the same as knowing the Truth for yourself. Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 7:21-23 ‘Many will say unto Me that day Lord, Lord … [they had been believers, but Jesus finished the passage] … I never knew you …’. The Greek word for ‘knew’ is ginosko meaning to perceive, be aware of: in today’s lingo our Lord was saying … ‘who are you?’ These people had become converts to a religious system based mainly around works to gain God’s favor and to appear godly to their fellow ‘believers’.
The Devil and his minions can do nothing about their guaranteed fate but meanwhile he enjoys employing his deceit through many all too willing earthly ministers; he is the power behind the deception of the converts; blinding them to the Truth. [2 Corinthians 4:3-4] Yes, the Gospel is hid to many, for as Jesus stated twice in Matthew … ‘Many are called but few are chosen.’: that is a story for another day.
The question then becomes: what makes one believer a convert and another a disciple?
Convert vs Disciple - There Is a World of Difference.
Tell Tale Differences Between a Convert and a Disciple.
- Convert - they become slaves to the doctrines of the assembly. Works are paramount including the correct form of water baptism, tithing, attendance, dress, language, obedience to the leadership and abject fear of falling from grace; not God’s but the dictates of the assembly. Fear of their old sin nature coming back to haunt them and that they will fall short of heaven.
- Disciple - the peace that comes with knowing the burden of sins that has kept one captive has been perfectly forgiven. The peace that grows as they witness life’s trials and God’s hand that has guided them thus far, as they begin to understand the peace of Philippians 4 that surpasses all comprehension. It is a peace that is alive within itself and grows as the disciple grows in grace.
Hunger for the Word
- Convert - the Word is hard for them to understand but rely upon the professionals or leadership to define what the scriptures say and teach. They have no desire for personal study as their thinking and doctrines for life are being done for them by others.
- Disciple - the Word is alive and the more they search the scriptures, the more they want to know. There is fulfillment in coming to knowing more and more of the Word and its impact upon their lives. As they grow they will become able to discern between the Truth and man’s traditions. They love their bibles and are constantly amazed at the depths the Word will take them. They will learn to understand the phrase - Sola Scriptura.
Hatred of Personal Sin
- Convert - it is a two-sided coin. The legalistic side of the coin, the convert is more worried about offending the dictates of the doctrines of the assembly and will attempt to walk a very narrow path in their relationship to the world. The God loves everybody side of the coin, the convert has no regard for the dictates of the assembly for they are minimal but most often find themselves with a more worldly attitude towards sin.
- Disciple - as they grow they will take their sins as a personal affront to God and will begin to understand what Paul meant when he said … ‘oh wretched man that I am! [Romans 7:24]
Love of the Brethren
- Convert - as long as everyone else seeks to get along, they will continue to try to get along with the others; it is by mutual agreement. The convert will seek other assemblies or none at all should they become offended by another. Converts have a tendency to set standards for another’s walk which will determine their personal relationships, if any.
- Disciple - it takes work but they will learn that the world will know our Lord by our love for one another. A kindred heart overlooks the foibles of others, as others learn to overlook their, should I say, uniqueness. Disciples are a strange lot, for as 1 Corinthians 1:27-28 teaches us; we are the weak, the foolish and the nothings of this world.
- Convert - they are either joyless because they are working too hard just to get along with the program, or they equate being happy as joy. They are not the same as Christ who went to the cross for the joy set before Him.
- Disciple - found joy the day they knew their sins had been had been removed as far as the east is from the west. As Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress; the burden of sin that so weighed him down fell from his shoulders and joy flooded his soul. That moment is permanently ingrained in the soul of the disciple; the convert still carries their burden of sin.
If One Lives By the Traditions of Man, They Are Not a Disciple.
What Makes One a Disciple, Rather Than a Convert?
It is the work of God alone; from beginning to the end. From justification, through sanctification and finally glorification.
- It is the Father that draws us to the Son and we become accepted in the Beloved. John 6:44; Ephesians 1:6 It is at that point one is justified; being saved by the gift of faith via the grace of God alone. Ephesians 2:8-9
- It is God, the Holy Spirit that sanctifies and works within us to do His will. Philippians 2:13; 2 Thessalonians 2:13
- As a child of God we will be glorified together with Christ. Romans 8:17
In summary, Romans 8:30 ‘Moreover, whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified'. Today, the many are seeking to find favor with God, an impossible task. It is the few that God has chosen to set His love upon; a very difficult doctrine for the convert to comprehend. But also as the Word states … ‘hope is joined to the living’. Today’s convert may very well become tomorrow’s disciple. May God bless.
Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on November 06, 2020:
Very well done. The difference becomes so clear.
The only foggy notion to me is the free will to do the work to let God do His work.
KC McGee from Where I belong on November 05, 2020:
You are spot on and 100% correct. Being a disciple of Christ is a life long effort. In depth study of God's word should also take a life time. I heard to many so called pastors take God's word out of context, I have never trusted them. Christ said to go out and make disciples. If Christ said it, that settles it.