Today's Hardshells are promoting a theological model that they title "From sonship to discipleship." By this they advocate that one is first made, by regeneration, a son or child of God, and then later (perhaps) become disciples of Jesus. Such a view might be tolerable did they believe that regeneration instantly produced disciples, but, the sad fact is, today's Hardshells teach that very few of those who are children of God by regeneration become followers of Christ. In this short posting I would like to show how the Scriptures teach just the opposite, that it rather teaches that discipleship precedes sonship or regeneration. The first verse that shows this is from John 6: 45 where Jesus said:
"Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me."
"Hearing" (listening or paying attention) and "learning" are what disciples (students or learners) do. To "disciple" anyone is to teach them. To be a disciple of another is to be a student and follower of the teachings of a discipler. Thus, notice that one must first be discipled by the Father before he comes to Christ. Also, coming to Christ is how one obtains life by regeneration as Jesus taught in John 5: 40 where he said that coming to him was in order to obtaining life. Thus, John 6: 45 says that all who are discipled by the Father become children of God by coming to Christ, thus the order is first discipleship and then regeneration or sonship.
Consider also what Jesus taught about his sheep in John chapter 10. In that chapter he says "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." (vs. 27) When he says "my sheep" he does not speak of only some of his sheep, but what is true of them all. He did not say "some of my sheep," but "my sheep," meaning all of them. Since to "follow" involves discipleship, it is clear that Jesus is saying "all my sheep are my disciples."