Discipleship can be defined simply as: growing in Christ.
Discipleship can be defined complexly as: God making you into what He’s declared you to be, righteous.
All throughout the Bible it is clear that if you as a Christian are not moving up and into Christ, you are not standing still but moving backwards. So we have no fence sitters in the Church, we are all either moving closer to Jesus or moving away from Him. Where are you moving? Keep in mind we all go through both of these two directions in our own lives, and I should also say we move slowly in our Christian growth rather than sprinting toward godliness or immorality. We are snails. And our growth is rather like the growth of an Oak tree, slow and steady.
What is Discipleship?
Scripture teaches that a live Christian is a growing Christian (2 Pet. 1:8-10). Scripture also teaches that we grow not only by instruction, but by imitation (1 Cor. 4:16; 11:1). Therefore churches should exhort their members to both grow in holiness and help others do the same.
Where is it in the Bible?
- Peter exhorted his readers to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 3:18)
- Paul exhorted the Ephesians to grow by speaking the truth in love to one another (Eph. 4:15).
- Many passages in Scripture instruct us to imitate godly leaders (Phil. 4:9; Heb. 13:7).
The point is that, according to Scripture, all Christians should grow in Christ, imitate other godly Christians, and encourage others in their growth in Christlikeness.
Why is it important?
- Promoting biblical discipleship and growth is important because none of us are finished products. Until we die, all Christians will struggle against sin, and we need all the help we can get in this fight.
- If a church neglects discipleship and growth, or teaches a skewed, unbiblical version of it, it will discourage genuine Christians and wrongly assure false Christians. On the other hand, if a church fosters a culture of Christian discipleship and growth, it will multiply believers’ efforts to grow in holiness.
- A church that is not growing in the faith will ultimately yield an unhealthy witness to the world.