Believing in Christ, Accepting Christ, Being a Disciple – is There a Difference?

By Madison Holbrook

The three terms listed above, believing in Christ, accepting Christ and being a disciple of Christ are, in my opinion three different mindsets describing a person’s behavior about God. In some ways, this could map the natural progression of the Christian journey.

Believing in Christ is the most basic, superficial relationship a person can have with God. In fact, I think the word “relationship” is stretching it. Anyone can believe in God. But it doesn’t require any work on creating a relationship, studying the bible, or prayer. It is distinctly separate from someone who chooses to follow God. Satan believes in God. Agnostics believe in God. Demons believe in God. That doesn’t lead to a relationship. A relationship requires action.

Accepting Christ is the bridge between a person’s superficial, separate understanding of God and the deliberate action taken to establish a relationship with Him. In order to get to this point of accepting Him, it requires an understanding and belief that God sent His son to Earth to tell the world that He is the only way to Heaven; His death and resurrection, His charge to the disciples to spread the news all over the world; and the preparation to live apart from the world. When someone accepts Jesus as their Savior, they are making the conscious choice to put themselves second, and do everything for God’s glory.

Defining a true disciple of Christ is somewhat complex. When someone has chosen to accept Christ, they are electing to become a disciple. The two should go hand in hand. However, on a more realistic note, in today’s pluralistic society, becoming a disciple of Christ almost has a radical connotation. God did not call us, His chosen people to become complacent and comfortable. He has called us to rely on faith, prayer and His teachings so we can be His vessels. This means living with abandon, allowing God to fulfill His purpose in us. Becoming a disciple is making a true concerted effort to leave it all to God, and rely on faith.

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