I recently read a great article by Dallas Willard regarding the issue of discipleship. He challenges the modern idea that we can be “vampire Christians” like saying to Jesus… I’d like a little of Your blood, please, for salvation, but I do not care to be your student or to develop Your character. In fact, just let me live my life and I’ll see you in heaven. Willard quotes A. W. Tozer, that salvation apart from obedience is unknown in the sacred Scriptures.
He stresses the importance of becoming an apprentice of Jesus, mainly to avoid the practice of sin, and that it is by spiritual transformation that the “cup becomes clean on the inside” and the “tree will bear good fruit.” This is far from assenting to a list of propositions regarding the Christian faith. Walking with Jesus in discipleship is the only way to exercise a power that is beyond us in dealing with problems and evils that afflict our earthly existence.
He ends the article with this quote:
But, someone will say, can I not be saved–get into heaven when I die–without any of this? Perhaps you can. God’s goodness is so great, I am sure, that He will let you in if He can find any basis at all to do so. But you might wish to think about what your life amounts to before you die, about what kind of person you are becoming, and whether you really would be comfortable for eternity in the presence of one whose company you have not found especially desirable for the few hours and days of earthly existence. And he is, after all, One who says to you now, “Follow me!”