When we want the savior but not the Lord: the great disciple mistake


Our society likes to emphasize God’s love and forget that he is also just and that he has wrath towards sin. We like the easy message. We like the easy gospel of “yeah you’re not perfect but neither is anyone else and God is a God of love and he forgives you.” 

We make faith about a vague ascent with Christ, a loose agreement, hearing “you can be forgiven,” and then saying “sure, I’ll have that,” like it’s someone asking if you want to share an order of mozzarella sticks at a restaurant. 

But the danger of an easy gospel is losing sight of Jesus and his call to discipleship, his call to live life in the light of what he has done. 

Don’t misunderstand me. 

The good news of the gospel is that whatever we’ve done, no matter how sinful you’ve been, there can be forgiveness through Jesus. 

But the point I’m making is that when a person truly knows Jesus and the gospel has become real in your life, that your life can never be the same. 

Jesus doesn’t tell his disciples that they should be salt or that it’d be a good idea to be salt. He says “you are the salt of the earth.” 

The gospel changes lives. 

When a person gets married, their life is supposed to be different and look different. You have someone else to think about. It should impact how you spend your time. 

What a person has a baby, their life is supposed to change. It’s no longer just about you. You have another life that you’re responsible for. You have another person who is totally and completely dependent on you. 

Now, some people don’t do that. Some people aren’t supportive. But we see that that’s wrong. We see that that’s not the way it’s supposed to be. 

In following Jesus, it’s meant to result in a life that is changed. 

If there’s no desire to know him, to live for him, then does a person really understand what Jesus has done? 

We’re ok with saying that Jesus is a savior. 

But with discipleship, it gets at the question: is he your Lord? 

A major issue in the American church is we like feel good Christianity, motivational sermons, catchy music. We too often make it about entertainment.  

I’m not saying that people can’t be genuine Christians in those environments. 

But we so often emphasize the ease of trusting Jesus while losing sight of the call of discipleship. To be a disciple of Jesus is to be his follower. 

Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear what you think, and don’t forget to subscribe! 

Josh Benner is the pastor of Christian Bible Church in Cissna Park, Illinois. He has a Master of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He enjoys writing about faith and culture. He has an awesome wife named Kari.