A Brief Biblical Principle from our lesson on John 6:60-71:
Following Jesus’ “Bloodiest Sermon”, he offers an invitation to appropriate his message to embrace him not merely as a good teacher or miracle worker, but as Messiah, Lord and Savior. Far from the responses we’ve witnessed at a Billy Graham Crusade, John records:
“From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.” (John 6:66)
The Greek word for disciple literally means student or learner, and hundreds of these disciples hung out and around Jesus – but for all the wrong reasons.
These were false disciples. They had no personal faith in Jesus. They wanted sizzle, but not substance. They wanted an A on the test without having to study. German pastor/martyr, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, sums up the attitude of a false disciple best in his book, The Cost of Discipleship (my copy is well-worn), where he describes what he calls Cheap Grace.
“Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our Church. Grace without cost! The grace, we suppose, is that the account has been paid in advance; and, because it has been paid, everything can be had for nothing. Cheap grace means the justification of the sin without the justification of the sinner. Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, communion without confession. It is grace without discipleship, grace without the Cross, grace without Jesus Christ.”
Apparently, there will be many false disciples on Judgment Day learning for the first time that their decision not to embrace Christ by faith was a death sentence for all eternity. Jesus offers this haunting warning:
“On that day [of judgment] many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ – Matthew 7:22-23
Which disciple are you?