Most of us do not like being evaluated. In school, I recall cramming to get through an exam with little fruit in my life to show for it!
Did you realize that there are clear expectations for a believer? Specific conduct that reveals whether or not a person is a true disciple of Jesus. One of these tests is mentioned in John 8:31-32 which says,
“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Jesus is explicitly teaching the expectation for one of his disciples to be in his Word and living a life of obedience from day one. There is not a two stage discipleship process. Some think a person can believe, and then later choose to be an obedient disciple. That is not what Jesus taught. Everyone who believes in him is one of his disciples, and the expectation of conduct applies universally to all disciples and begins immediately at salvation.
Eternal Security is a theological truth that teaches once a person is saved he is always saved. That is true. Assurance, though, is dependent on my believing the truth of eternal security and comes from a life of obedience. Assurance of salvation is always related to compliance. In our passage, Jesus clearly says that only those who continue in his teaching are in reality or are in fact his disciples. Obedience is visible evidence of salvation and is expected of all who are followers of Jesus. Obedience does not earn salvation but shows that a person is saved.
When we see someone who claims to be a disciple of Jesus and yet is not following his teaching, we should not give that person assurance of salvation. We should show them the clear expectation of following Jesus and his teaching. A sinning disciple should repent of their sin and ask for forgiveness, or they may not be a believer at all. We should not be afraid to proclaim the same expectations of discipleship that Jesus did!
Father, I thank you that you have made not only salvation possible, but you have also made the path of discipleship to Jesus very clear. One of the evidences of my salvation is my obedience to the Word. This certainly does not mean I will be perfect, but that my normal way of life is obedience, and when I sin I address it the way you tell me to in your Word. Help me to remain faithful to you and your desire for my life.
Following Jesus with you,