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So much that is truly real we never really stop to consider. The fact that you are reading or hearing these words means that you are a sentient human being, which in turn means that God Himself gave life to your mortal body at your conception. Your conscious thought is not the sum and substance of that life, it is a byproduct. The life that God gave you enables conscious thought, as well as the reception of input from all your senses. Yet that life does not end when conscious thought and sensory stimuli are suspended. “Jesus said to [Martha], ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.'” (John 11:25-26 ESV) What an amazing gift, this life that God has given us and to which we tend to give so little thought, though it will survive the passage through physical death and continue to exist in eternity.

As living children of God, there is another aspect of our existence to which we routinely fail to devote appropriate consideration-the fact that we are disciples of Jesus Christ.

A disciple is someone who embraces and assists in spreading the teachings of someone else; in our case, the teachings of our Savior Jesus. That is what we are and who we are: disciples. Of Jesus Christ. When was the last time you gave that divine truth conscious thought or consideration?

An infamous and immoral athlete, when asked if he thought he was being a good role model for young men, complained that he never asked to be a role model. The response from the interviewer was excellent: “But you are a role model. The only question is whether you are a good or bad one.” That same truth applies to every Christian in connection with discipleship. From the moment of our conversion, we are disciples of Jesus Christ. The only question is how well we are serving in that role.

Our Savior did not leave us without guidance as to what good discipleship is supposed to look like. In John 8:31-32 we read, “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.'” (ESV) If we are to “embrace and assist in spreading the teachings of Jesus,” we obviously need to know exactly what those teachings are. Our one certain source is the Word of God, in which good disciples are continually to immerse themselves. Our Savior gave us additional guidance when He said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35 ESV) The Bible truth that we have been given to know, and the love that we are to have for one another, are one and the same. We demonstrate our love by sharing the simple Biblical truths of Law and Gospel. Not one or the other. Both, rightly divided and appropriately applied. We show love to those under the slavery of sin and unbelief by first bringing the hammer of God’s Law. Sin is still sin, no matter how persistently our society tries to convince us otherwise. Unbelief will, without exception, result in eternal torment in hell.

Then, when God’s Law has done what it alone can do, disciples of Jesus Christ have the extraordinary privilege of sharing the secret to eternal life: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.” (Acts 16:31 ESV) This is what our Savior wants our discipleship to look like.

Michael Roehl is pastor of Saint Paul Lutheran Church in Bismarck, North Dakota.