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20 February, 2023 15:25

February 20, 2023


God’s ultimate purpose for every man is that we become conformed to the image of His Son. In the beginning God knelt down and scooped up some clay and began to fashion it into one who was to bear His image. This lifeless mannequin suddenly became alive the moment God Almighty breathed His life into him. God, like every father, thrilled at the thought of having a son who bore His image. Daily God and man delighted in fellowship with one another as they strolled together in the garden. How long Adam and Eve enjoyed this glorious relationship we are not told. It may well have lasted for years until that fateful day when they were beguiled by their appointed guardian cherub, Lucifer.

Man’s fall became God’s opportunity to demonstrate His amazing grace. God remains committed to having a company of people each conformed to the image of His beloved Son; our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.

Discipleship is where that journey begins. A disciple was simply a ‘student’ whose goal was to become like his instructor. Imagine a young man who desires to become a great violinist. One day he is given the opportunity to be mentored by one of the world’s greatest violinists, Mr. X. He studies his every action, how he holds the violin, the way he handles the bow, the care he takes with his instrument, etc. After years of study he is given the honor of playing in some prestigious concert hall with thousands in attendance. After his recital, he is told by numerous attendees that his style and playing reminded them of Mr. X’s playing. This is the highest compliment he could possibly receive; to have achieved the level of his instructor and mentor.

There were numerous disciples mentioned in the New Testament. John the Baptist had disciples, the Pharisees had disciples, there were even disciples of Moses. Paul had his disciples and Jesus also had his. Each of them had one goal and that was to become like their master.

We are told that the disciples of Jesus were first called Christians at Antioch. This term Christian was initially given by those who opposed or belittled the early followers of Christ. These believers young and old alike, all acted out the teachings and sayings of their new found Master and Lord. Those observing them were reminded of Him every time they encountered one of His followers.

We could well describe a Christian as a disciple that has arrived at his goal. The crowds saw in those early disciples the very nature and likeness of Christ Himself, and therefore referred to them as Christians or Christ-like ones.

Tragically the term Christian today, no longer conveys the same message that it once did. The vast majority of people in our Western civilized culture believe they are Christians to some degree or another. The alternative in their mind is to be labeled a heathen which doesn’t sit well because of its very negative connotation.

A Christian, these days, tends to be a term associated with a decent or morally superior person rather than a true and avid follower of Jesus Christ. This in turn has led many evangelicals to introduce what they believe is a much more accurate term for a follower of Christ and so have reintroduced the word disciple.

During the last decade or so we have seen a number of books like ‘Radical’ all attempting to change and challenge our thinking regarding what it means to be a follower of Christ. While I don’t take issue with their motives, I do take issue with their basic theology. You don’t begin as a Christian and then slowly mature into a disciple. You begin as a disciple and then grow into a Christian. Jesus clearly stated, ‘It is enough that a disciple become as his master.’ When the Christ who dwells within us becomes visible through us, then we have arrived at our goal of Christlikeness or Christian.

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