The Marks of a Disciple

Jesus leaves these challenging words for any who would follow Him,

If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. (Luke 9:23 KJV)

The Apostle Paul describes the true Christian with these words to the Galatian believers,

And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. (Gal 5:24-25 KJV)

The First epistle of John contains certain marks that describe a true disciple of Christ, one who has been transformed through the new birth, and is following Jesus wholeheartedly. John writes,

These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. (1 John 5:13 KJV)

Some of these defining marks of a Christian as are follows:

  • A Christian walks in the light (1 John 1:5-7)
  • A Christian keeps Christ’s commandments (1 John 2:3-5, 5:2-3)
  • A Christian walks as Jesus walked (1 John 2:6)
  • A Christian loves his brother (1 John 2:9-11, 3:14-21, 4:7-8, 21-21, 5:1)
  • A Christian has turned from the world (1 John 2:15-17)
  • A Christian abides in the truth of Christ (1 John 2:22-24, 4:2-3, 15, 5:10-12)
  • A Christian lives righteously (1 John 2:29, 3:7)
  • A Christian purifies himself (1 John 3:2-3)
  • A Christian has given up sin (1 John 3:4-10, 5:18)
  • A Christian hears and discerns the truth (1 John 4:5-6)
  • A Christian has received the Spirit (1 John 4:13)
  • A Christian overcomes the world (1 John 5:4-5)
  • A Christian has the witness of God (1 John 5:9-10)

These marks are present in a true disciple of Christ. They speak of a life that has been transformed by Christ, and a faith that obediently follows Christ as Lord of one’s life. If your life has not been changed; if you have not turned from sin to living in obedience to the commands of Christ; if you have not turned from the world, and are overcoming it by faith; if you cannot discern biblical truth from the error of the world; if you do  not have the Spirit, and are walking in His power, and do not have the witness within yourself that you are a child of God, then according to these passages of scripture, you are not born again, you are not a true disciple of Christ. This is not my idea of what constitutes a true believer, but comes from the very word of God. Take the time to read these verses in 1 John, and examine yourself to see if you are in the faith (2 Cor 13:5).