“The American Gospel separates justification from sanctification. Though these words have different meanings, sometimes we damage them by separating them. When we do this we give the impression that being a Christian means obtaining a protected status with God. We think that this act of justification settles the issue—“Come in where it’s safe and secure” rather than teaching that a call to believe in Christ should also compel following Him. The point of salvation (justification) isn’t the finish line but the starting point for a journey (sanctification).
Discipleship flourishes when we present the Gospel as a journey of transformation. The problem with our culture is that we have created and taught a faith that doesn’t transform people. There is often such a disconnect between Christianity and holiness. In Scripture this kind of Christianity doesn’t exist.
I fear that because we have preached this kind of gospel, a number of people think they are Christians/saved/born again when they really are not. We make the test for salvation doctrinal rather than behavioral, ritualizing it with walking down an aisle, saying a prayer or signing a doctrinal statement. Personally I was a church members for years before I became a Christian. I had an intellectual belief but not a Biblical faith.
American Discipleship has led to what some call bar-code Christians…people who belive the right things but don’t follow Jesus. The real Gospel requires us to repent of our sin. To believe means to follow Jesus daily. The Gospel requires us to make disciples who learn to obey everything Christ taught. By their fruits you will know them. The evidence of Christianity is living a life of transformation. I’m not talking about earning salvation but the proof of salvation. Bill Hull suggested we ask Does the gospel we teach produce disciples or does it produce consumers of religious goods and services. ”
Are you more like Jesus today? How have you grown in holiness since becoming a Christian?