Steps to Christ, Pt. 6: The Test of Discipleship

So we continue today looking at chapter 6, The Test of Discipleship.  This is really where the rubber hits the road because when Jesus died and rose again, He did not go out saying, “Go make more Christians”, He said, “Go, make disciples” (Matthew 28).

The question begs to be asked, What is a disciple?  Simply put, a disciple is a student.  Jesus is often referred to in the Bible as a Rabbi, which means teacher.  Putting it all together, when we decide to follow Jesus by putting all our faith, hope, trust and love into Him (His life, teachings, death, resurrection), we become a “student” of the Master Rabbi Jesus.

There are going to be a lot of quotes in this one!  It is a great chapter.  Be sure to read it and if you need a copy check it out at!

To know whether or not you are a student of Jesus, Ellen states, “while we must not trust at all to ourselves or our good works, our lives will reveal whether the grace of God is dwelling within us.  A change will be seen in the character, the habits, the pursuits.  The contrast will be clear and decided between what they have been and what they are.  The character is revealed, not by occasional good deeds and occasional misdeeds, but by the tendency of the habitual words and acts.” In another one of her writings, Ellen states that it is not the occasional misdeed, but the trajectory of a lifetime.  A true disciple or follower of Jesus will notice that the rhythm of their lives is stepping to the beat of a new drum(er), so to speak.  Or for you more methodologically conservative folk, the rhythm of your life will now be set to a non-syncopated rhythm.

Reminding me of the passage in Romans 8:6 where Paul states that “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace”, Ellen continues to add, “Who has the heart?  With whom are our thoughts?  Of whom do we love to converse?  Who has our warmest affections and our best energies?  If we are Christ’s, our thoughts are with him, and our sweetest thoughts are of him.  All that we have and are is consecrated to him.  We long to bear his image, breathe his spirit, do his will and please him in all things.” With absolutely no desire to boost in my flesh, I can honestly say that Jesus is my greatest hope, my greatest thought, my greatest desire, my favorite topic to talk about, etc….  What about you?  Is He your everything?

Remember when I said that there were going to be a lot of quotes?  Take a gander at these paragraphs:

There are two errors against which the children of God–particularly those who have just come to trust in his grace–especially need to guard.  The first, already dwelt upon, is that of looking to their own works, trusting to anything they can do, to bring themselves into harmony with God.  He who is trying to become holy by his own works in keeping the law, is attempting an impossibility.  All that man can do without Christ is polluted with selfishness and sin.  It is the grace of Christ alone, through faith, that can make us holy.

The opposite and no less dangerous error is, that belief in Christ releases men from keeping the law of God; that since by faith alone we become partakers of the grace of Christ, our works have nothing to do with our redemption.

But notice here that obedience is not a mere outward compliance, but the service of love.  The law of God is an expression of his very nature; it is an embodiment of the great principle of love, and hence is the foundation of his government in heaven and earth.  If our hearts are renewed in the likeness of God, if the divine love is implanted in the soul, will not the law of God be carried out in the life?  When the principle of love is implanted in the heart, when man is renewed after the image of Him that created him, the new covenant promise is fulfilled, “I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them.”* And if the law is written in the heart, will it not shape the life?  Obedience–the service and allegiance of love–is the true sign of discipleship.  Thus the Scripture says, “This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.” “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”* Instead of releasing man from obedience, it is faith, and faith only, that makes us partakers of the grace of Christ, which enables us to render obedience.

We do not earn salvation by our obedience; for salvation is the free gift of God, to be received by faith.  But obedience is the fruit of faith.


If you are struggling today with your performance, I want to simply invite you to give up.  Your righteousness is as filthy rags (see the prophet Isaiah).  If you think that Ellen White was a legalist, please read these paragraphs again!  I re-quote, “He who is trying to become holy by his own works in keeping the law, is attempting an impossibility.” In and of yourself you cannot do it.  However, according to 1 Corinthians 6:19, “your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit”!  This is only available for the believer.  What does this mean?  It means that the very Spirit of God actually makes His dwelling place INSIDE YOU!  And it is only by HIM LIVING IN YOU that you can walk as He walked.  AND with Him living in you, you will begin to, as the Psalmist David says, “delight in the law”!  That is what Hebrews 10:16 is all about, “I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them.”

I could go on and on about this chapter.  Please read the book!  Let me know your thoughts, questions, comments, prayer requests, etc.



Posted on by Matthew Gamble in Articles

About Matthew Gamble

Communicator, Consultant, Coach. Founder of a non-profit VagaBondservant Int'l that takes me all over the world exploring the life and teachings of Jesus.

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