Monday, February 25, 2013

Does Discipleship Follow Sonship?

One of the ways in which heresies can gain an amount of credibility in minds is by dressing them up in theological garb.  It is much easier to accept a novel interpretation of scripture if they can be placed in neat little cubbyholes over which hangs a pretty soteriological sign.  Among those who, relatively speaking, are more learned in the time salvation paradigm, the current language used to describe the manner in which it partitions the Bible is to say that some scriptures treat of sonship while others speak of discipleship.  Of course, there would not be such a determined effort to so divide up the Bible if both were deemed necessary for salvation.  It would be no different than if I were to say that one piece of wood belongs on the roof and another to the floor while building a house, when both are required for its construction.  It is therefore understood that when such a distinction is made by the inventors of this grid that the former is seen as necessary for salvation, and the other is not.
I see through this somewhat fanciful language as nothing more than a cloak, under which lies the rotten heresy that a man can be saved without being a follower or disciple of Christ.  It is simply a more modern, academic way of saying what has been said since the inception of this paradigm in the late 1800s:  a sinner can be regenerated but not converted.  There are some, however, who attempt to navigate between Scylla and Charbydis by imbibing the idea of a “non-evangelical conversion” common to the elect. They would say that the elect do follow Christ after regeneration, with the understanding that they were converted through the direct preaching of Jesus to the soul.  Thus, two camps exist.
One can proclaim to "rightly divide the word of truth" by separating the passages into sonship and discipleship all that he wants.   I will but ever and always reply with the very pointed question:
Does discipleship follow sonship? Is following Christ an absolute effect of the new birth?
As one delivered from this pre-conceived grid, I reply that the scriptures so abundantly affirm that it does, that I marvel how professed Bible-believers, especially elders of the gospel, can deny it and still have a clear conscience.  All that needs to be done is refer to passages which show that following Christ is a definite fruit in those regenerated.
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27)
The interesting thing about this passage is that it is an oft-quoted text among the Conditionalists, yet is no friend to their teachings.  Does following Christ belong to sonship or discipleship?  If it’s true that Christ knows all his children, and all hear his voice, then is it not true that all follow Him?  If they all follow, then does discipleship follow regeneration?  If so, then the gird which we’re discussing is overthrown.  Of course some would say, as we mentioned above, that they all do follow Him, having been converted by the literal voice of Jesus.  What now? Are there "two kinds" of discipleship?
This is confusion. 
Any verse of scripture which shows elements of conversion as part of the course of the regenerate life annihilates this idea of certain sonship but optional discipleship.  Anything which is said to be a definite fruit of regeneration logically becomes a definite part of salvation because none will go to heaven without them.  If God's elect thus attain to final salvation having exhibited these fruits in their lives, then it is evident that they passed through both stages of sonship and discipleship.
And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” (Ez. 36:27)
And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.” (John 10:4)
Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” (Rom. 6:18)
“But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” (Rom. 6:22)

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Rom. 8:1)
“That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Rom. 8:4)
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” (Rom. 8:14)

“Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.” (1 Peter 1:2)

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul. (Heb. 10:39)
"Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” (Heb. 12:14)

“These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.” (Rev. 14:4)

It is the effect of regeneration to follow Christ, exhibit holiness, walk after the Spirit, be obedient, be servants of righteousness, servants of God, walk in His statutes, and believe to final salvation. In Hardshell language, this would mean that discipleship is produced when they become sons.  As we heard another analyze correctly, to say that it is not a definite effect of regeneration portrays a God who sort of taps His people on the shoulder in regeneration and says "I'll see you on the day of the resurrection!", leaving their present life to be determined by Pelagian free-will.

An utterly destructive passage on this novel grid is Jesus's statement in Luke 8:19-21:

"Then came to him his mother and his brethren, and could not come at him for the press.  And it was told him by certain which said, Thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to see thee.  And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it."

Here our Lord announces the spiritual family is the same as those who hear the word of God and do it.  He weds together spiritual relationship with being hearers and doers of the word, or in other terms, sonship with discipleship.  His "mother" and "brethren" are gospel converts!

And again in Matthew 12:50:
"For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother."

And of course any verse which says there is no salvation outside of Christianity utterly razes such an idea to the ground:

"Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God.  He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son."(2 John 9)

My hope is that those who overlay the scriptures with this grid will come to see it as an error, and come to see that regeneration produces discipleship.  To be a son is to be a follower of Christ.

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