Becoming a Christian and living as one are two different things. God refers to one as justification and the other as sanctification. We might also understand these two distinctions as finding Jesus and following Jesus. Blur this distinction between salvation and discipleship and you’ll inevitably be left with a salvation of works and many inconsistencies in understanding the text of the Scriptures. Realizing salvation is free, we are then freed-up to pay the cost of living completely for Jesus out of love and gratitude, not fear and uncertainty.

Discussion Questions

Take time to describe how a person becomes a Christian, then how that person might live as a Christian. What is the difference between finding Jesus and following Jesus? When did you find Jesus through faith in Him? Describe how you are following Jesus now?

What does it mean to be justified before God? Read Romans 3:21-24. How do you get justified?

Sanctification is God’s work in us as we cooperate with Him following our justification. What does God’s sanctification process look like in your life? Can you say you are “abiding” in Christ (John 8:30-31)?

Salvation (finding Jesus) is free and forever. Look at a few passages that remind us of this truth: Romans 6:23, Revelation 22:17, John 6:39-40, 47, 10:29. Describe the gratitude and confidence that comes from this realization.

Unlike salvation, discipleship (following Jesus) is costly and conditional. Read Luke 9:23-26 and 14:25-28, 33. How is following Jesus described?

Notice that following Jesus is conditioned upon your obedience. While you can’t lose your salvation, you can drop out as a pupil or learner. Look at 1 Timothy 4:1, 2 Timothy 2:18, 1 Timothy 1:19, Hebrews 2:1.

Based on what we’ve discussed today, how would you help a person understand how to become a Christian? What would you say to a believer to encourage that person to live for Jesus and follow Him. Once again, how does finding Jesus differ from following Him?

Further Reading

Your Life with God

Salvation is often viewed as a singular “event” or moment in our lives. By God’s grace, we receive salvation by believing in the death and resurrection of Jesus to save us. There is a sense in which this is absolutely true, from the moment of belief we are saved...

Your Growth Toward Maturity

You’re born into God’s family the moment you place your faith in Jesus for eternal life. You start as a spiritual baby. But it’s never God’s intention for you to remain a baby. You are to grow and thrive as a maturing believer in Jesus. But you never grow passively....

Your Old and New Natures

Have you ever felt unprepared? You’ve probably had a time in your life when you were not prepared at all for what was about to happen. As our flesh constantly fights to lead us further away from God, it’s easy for us to feel unprepared for life. But God prepares us by...

The Holy Spirit in Your Life

In the Bible, we read Jesus promising to send the Holy Spirit to his disciples after He is gone. As believers in Jesus, the Holy Spirit is also with us, living inside of us, just as Jesus promised. The question is, why did Jesus send the Holy Spirit to be with us?...

Confessing Your Sins

God’s redemptive plan for humanity involves the death of Jesus for the sins of everyone. But we enjoy God’s forgiveness only when we believe what Jesus did for us. Have you noticed, even Christians still sin? Confessing or admitting our daily sin keeps our...

Your Assurance of Salvation

Is it possible to know you have a new life through Christ and are headed for heaven? If so, how? God never intends for the assurance of your salvation to be a perpetual guessing game. You can know you’re saved. Unfortunately, you can lose your grip on the assurance of...