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The Biblically Recorded Testimonies of Salvation of Some of the Apostles; Not a Call to Higher Christian Living

Updated: Jul 2

Updated July 1, 2024

In Luke 5:1-11 we have the Scripturally recorded Salvation testimony of some of the Apostles, which debunks the error that passages such as Lk 5:1-11 are referring to practical sanctification, a post-salvation call to a deeper walk with God and Christian service for believers.

What a church or pastor or believer believes about salvation can be easily deducted from the manner in which they deal with certain passages of Scripture from the Bible. Some of these passages include Matt 16:24-26; Lk 5:1-11; 9:23-26, 57-62; Mk 8:34-38; 10:17-31; Jn 12:24-26, and analogous passages, verses that describe salvation but are falsely interpreted into something post-salvation, for some kind of discipleship or higher, deeper Christian living. This report will briefly exposit Lk 5:1-11, what is clearly the salvation of the two sets of brothers who would become four of the twelve Apostles of Jesus, but if you go here, we deal with the other passages in the above list.

Luke 5:1-11 reads,

“And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, [2] And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. [3] And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. [4] Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. [5] And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. [6] And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. [7] And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. [8] When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. [9] For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: [10] And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. [11] And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.”

Parallel passages are found in Mk 1:14-20 and Matt 4:17-22.

Marks account says:

“Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, [15] And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. [16] Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. [17] And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. [18] And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him. [19] And when he had gone a little further thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets. [20] And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him.”

Luke's narration goes into detail of what occurred in Mk 1:16-20 and Matt 4:18-22, so our attention will be focused on that account.

Many, many professing Christians interpret these passages into something post-salvation, typically a calling to a higher or deeper Christian life and walk with God. But none of that is found in this text of Scripture. Jesus was not teaching or disseminating the idea of practical sanctification. Many preachers, the vast majority in fact, preach that the two sets of brothers were already saved at this point in Luke 5, which fits their type of theology which is Keswick-Higher Life-Deeper life-Revivalism theology. To arrive at such a conclusion, one has to change the gospel, the many accounts of Jesus' salvation sermons, and eisegete the salvation passages into something else that fits a post-salvation narrative. Their practice of treating these types of Scripture is consistent, but it's horribly and pervertedly wrong, more conducent with the transgression of 2 Pet 3:16-17 and its charge of wresting the Scriptures then with the God-honouring interpretation methodology of exegesis.

What is occurring in this text of Lk 5:1-11 (and parallel passages, though we will use Lukes account mostly) is of the same nature mentioned in Lk. 14:25-35 and Matt. 16:24-26, and what all these other similar passages are also speaking of: Matt. 10:32-39; 11:28-30; 16:24-26; Mk. 8:34-38; Lk. 9:23-26, 57-62; 12:8-9; 13:23-30; 14:16-24, 14:25-15:32; 17:26-33; 18:9-17; Jn. 12:24-26, including that of the rich young ruler (Matt. 19:16-30; Mk. 10:17-31; and Lk. 18:18-30). There is no record in the NT of the two sets of brothers (Peter and Andrew, James and John), being saved and following Christ before this point in Luke 5. Including John 1. The only individuals that appear to perhaps be converted in John 1 are Philip and Nathanael. Just because Jesus says in Jn 1:42, “Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone,” does not mean Peter was converted at this point in time. Jesus is telling him what he will be called, which is yet future, and it is no indication that he had been saved at the present. Furthermore, it is in the account of the rich young ruler where Peter references his and the other apostles salvation (Matt. 19:27; Mk. 10:28; and Lk. 18:28), which ties clearly into this text of Scripture, Peter using the exact same lingual as found in the passages of Lk. 5:1-11; Mk. 1:14-20; and Matt. 4:27-22, which is then subsequently confirmed by Jesus as their conversion in Matt. 19: 28-30; Mk. 10:29-31; and Lk. 18:29-30. This is it in a nutshell, but below I will expound on this a bit further.

This is the moment of conversion for at least four of them, and we know that very clearly from this text and rightly dividing the Word of truth. Consider the following arguments.

1. First of all, there is no relationship between Jesus and the two sets of brothers at this point, clearly evident in Jesus’s dialogue with Simon Peter (Lk. 5:1-4), and how we read in Mk 1.

"Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him. And when he had gone a little further thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets. And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him." (Mk 1:14-20)

If they had been saved already, Jesus would have referred to them as disciples and would have spoken to them as He did after they were converted in this account. But He didn't. Though they might have met before, the relationship at this point early on in the narrative, clearly implies no relationship at all. Marks account, quoted above, even further verifies that. This is clearly an account of where Jesus is preaching the gospel and then as the context advances (vv. 14-15) this continues towards the two sets of brothers who respond to the call to follow Christ, which is a call to salvation.

Peter was a fishermen and Jesus was preaching by the seashore and then requested the use of his boat. Peter refers to Him as Master (v. 5), not a title typically used toward Christ by someone saved, though it is a title of respect and acknowledgment of great knowledge. “Master” here in v. 5 is the Greek word “epistates” and defined as an appointee over people, such as a commander or teacher, superintendent or overseer, not a title necessarily afforded to Jesus alone. “Lord” however in v. 8 is “kurios,” which is the title of God, and defined as one supreme in authority, the state of supremacy. This is Jesus, and only Him, as one of the three Persons of the Godhead. The word is translated as “God” and “Lord” nearly 700x. It is also translated as “master” in scripture a dozen times. We note a very clear change in attitude and confession by Peter from when their correspondence started. When Christ completes His sermon, which Peter undoubtedly would have overheard, He zeros in on Peter which is the beginning of his conversion. Of course this is no different than His working in the souls of the unregenerate today, though He is not physically present (cf. Jn 16:7-11; 12:32; Pr 1:20-23ff.; Ti 2:11; etc). At no point are either of the two sets of brothers even remotely considered Christ's disciples at this point where this dialogue begins. Jesus does not refer to any of them as His disciples but simply as “fishermen” (Lk 5:2).

2. Secondly, what transpired after Christ finished His sermon describes salvation. Jesus tells Peter how he can catch fish, since they are in a drought. Peter argues against Him, feigns some sort of faith but is actually disbelieving and disobedient (v. 5), which is always a mark of unregeneracy (Rev 21). Peter throws out a “net,” singular, and not “nets,” plural (v. 5), as Jesus had commanded. As it turns out, what Christ said came to pass, but due to Peter’s disobedience and unbelief the lives of his family and friends and co-workers were almost lost (vv. 6-7). Jesus had told Peter to “let down your nets” (plural) (Lk. 5:4). Peter said (and did), “I will let down the net” (singular) (Lk. 5:5). Big difference, almost a life-ending difference. Jesus said more than one, Peter blatantly disobeyed and rebelled against Gods Word and threw out only one. Peter didn’t believe Jesus, since they had “toiled all the night and [had] taken nothing” (v. 5). The result of that disobedience was nigh catastrophic. It cost many fish, nearly their fishing boats, but most importantly, almost costing the lives of his father Zebedee, brother Andrew and business partners James and John and hired servants (Mk. 1:20):

“And when they had this done [1 net, not 2 or more like Jesus said], they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” (Lk. 5:6-8).

Peter’s sinful condition and rebellious nature is brought to light, his actual unbelief in what Christ had stated demonstrated by his disobedience and then when he sees what is occurring before him due to his sin, he falls before Christ in submission and surrender (v. 8a), crying “Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” (v. 8b). This is the cry of a repentant sinner for mercy, a similar cry to the one that protruded from the lips of the unsaved prodigal (Lk 15:18, 21, "Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.") This is the repentant cry of a humbled and contrite heart that can be saved, versus hearing Christ say these words to those who wouldn't repent: "And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." (Matt 7:23). Peter, like the prodigal, was surrendering to Jesus Christ as Lord, turning from his sinful self and rebellion, to surrendered faith in Jesus Christ. He was repenting of his sinful condition. He was not worthy of the Lord, denoting a humbled man who understands his deserving penalty of eternal hell fire. His true faith in Jesus Christ is immediately demonstrated, as it always is in all truly saved people, when he (and his brother Andrew and the other two brothers John and James) “forsook all, and followed [Jesus].” (v. 11). Peter demonstrated a great fear of God, trembling in submission and acquiescence, but then upon his conversion Jesus reassures him, “Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.” (v. 10b). The fear of the Lord leads to repentance which leads to peace with the Lord. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” and “wisdom” (Pr 1:7; 9:10), because it leads to genuine repentance and conversion. Jesus made them fishers of men, the very thing that He had used a boat of Peter’s. Eventually He would make Peter the captain of another boat, but a captain in submission to the "captain of [his] salvation" (Heb 2:10).

All true born again believers are fishers of men (2 Cor 5:18-6:1) from the very moment of their new birth (2 Cor 5:17). When a man becomes a servant of Christ, he is immediately in the ministry (2 Cor. 5:18-19)— he is an “ambassador for Christ” (2 Cor. 5:20), he is in the “ministry of reconciliation” which is a reconciler of the lost to Christ (2 Cor. 5:18) by the word of reconciliation which is the Word of God, he is a “worker together with him” (2 Cor. 6:1) for “we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry,” (1 Cor. 3:9). And that is what we see demonstrated here, and immediately evident in the lives of these born again fishermen post-Lk 5:11 (and Mk 1:20; Matt 4:22).

That this is clearly referring to salvation is obvious by the words used by Christ here in calling for their conversion (“Follow me” – Matt. 4:19, and “Come ye after me” – Mk. 1:17) which words Jesus specifically referred to saving faith in Lk. 18:22; Matt. 19:21; and Mk. 10:21 (and other places such as Lk. 14:25-35). The call to salvation is “come” (Is. 55:1-7; Jn. 6:44; 7:37; 14:6; Rev. 22:17; etc). "Forsaking" dovetails with repentance and "following" with faith. The two always meet together in true salvation. It takes faith to come and follow Christ, and all who have saving faith immediately follow Christ. In that day this meant following Him physically, but since His death, resurrection and ascension, it’s following Him by following His Word (Jn. 14:15-24; 8:31-32; 1 Jn. 2:3-5) while led by His Spirit (Rom. 8:14). The repentance and faith that brings true salvation is never repeated again. It happens but once.

3. Thirdly, nowhere do we actually read that they were saved prior to this event. If they had been converts of John the Baptist, Mk 1 would indicate this since that is what this chapter starts with and is contextually the same account of Lk 5:1-11 (Mk 1:16-20). Nothing in John 1 indicates they were saved but just the opposite, they did not continue following Jesus at this point, though there we do see the likely point of salvation for Philip and Nathanael.

4. Fourthly, the entire context is Jesus preaching the gospel/salvation, before and after (Lk. 4:43-44; Mk. 1:14-20; Matt. 4:17-23). Soteriology is the subject at hand, not practical sanctification. For that matter, the four gospels are actually all about the gospel, i.e. salvation. I don't mean to insult your intelligence, but to many people are perverting the four gospels into something that isn't salvation. Salvation is its primary subject, not practical sanctification. False teachers twist the meaning of Scripture to make it fit their narrative and their own testimony, since they do not have a Biblical testimony of salvation. This is why Keswick theology is so popular among unregenerate false believers that participate in true Bible believing churches.

Why would the narrative change from salvation to practical sanctification post-salvation in these passages (Lk 5:1-11; Matt 4:18-22; Mk 1:17-20) right in the midst of salvation passages, in the gospel accounts which is all about salvation? It doesn’t make any sense and contradicts what the context is very clearly teaching us.

5. Fifthly, the actual event itself of Lk. 5:1-11 clearly indicates this is the salvation of the two sets of brothers. Jesus calls the two sets of brothers to salvation (“Follow me and I will make you fishers of men”) and “they straightway left their nets, and followed him. . . . And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.” (Mk 1:20; Mat 4:22). This is clearly a call to salvation (as also reiterated later by Peter in Matt. 19; Lk 18 and Mk 10) ALL in the context of salvation:

“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, . . . And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, . . . And he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent. And he preached in the synagogues of Galilee.” (Mk 1:17-18; Matt 4:23; Lk 4:43-33).

These passages are the pretext to Christ calling the two sets of brothers. True repentance and saving faith is seen in Lk 5:8-11. Repentance is noted in their fear of God, which is necessary for true repentance and salvation (cf. Ps. 25:12-14; 36:1; 66:16; 85:9; 103:11-18; 145:18-20; Pr. 14:27; 22:4; Lk. 1:50; 12:4-5; Rom. 3:18; Ac. 13:26; Rev. 11:18; 14:6-7), their turning from sin (cf. Ac. 3:19; Lk. 13:1-5; 5:31-32; 15:1-32; 1 Th. 1:9; Matt. 21:28-32), the acknowledgment of Jesus with their mouth that He is Lord and humbling themselves before Him by falling down in obeisance, bowing at His feet, surrendering to Him as Lord (cf. Phil. 2:10-11; Rom. 14:11; cf. Rom. 10:9-10; Lk. 18:13-17), and their true saving faith noted in forsaking all and following Him (cf. Lk. 14:25–15:32 where Jesus is preaching to lost people [14:25 and 15:1], and the greater context to 15:32; see also the account of Jesus preaching to the lost rich ruler, Mk 10:21).

6. Six, and maybe the most important reason we know this is referring to their conversion is Peter's own testimony about it, where he directly refers to it, speaking on behalf of the other apostles, and referring to this event as their salvation in Matt. 19:25-27; Mk. 10:26-28; and Lk. 18:26-28, and then Jesus confirming this indeed as their conversion in Matt. 19:28-30; Mk. 10:29-31; and Lk. 18:29-30.

Matt 19:29,

"Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?"

This confession by Peter was to the rhetorical question,

"Who then can be saved?" (v. 25; cf. Lk. 18:26; Mk. 10:26).

The context is obviously salvation. Very clearly. The Lord Jesus is preaching the gospel to a rich young ruler that would reject repentance and the gospel and would not “come, take up the cross, and follow [Him]” (Mk. 10:21), the calling of the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. What the rich young ruler wouldn't do, Peter and the apostles, minus one, had done: “Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee." (Mk. 10:28). (Peter obviously didn't know at this point that Judas was a false believer and pretender). Unlike that "certain ruler," Peter and those with him had relinquished their lives, their selves, their possessions, their sin, to follow Jesus Christ (see Matt. 10:30-39; Mk. 8:34-38; Lk. 9:23-26, 56-62; Lk. 14:25-35), and for that they had received eternal and everlasting life from God the Father.

The language used by Peter, "forsaken all, and followed thee," is the exact same language used in Lk 5:11, our text:

". . . they forsook all, and followed him.”

And used by the Lord Jesus Christ in Lk 14:25-32, in calling the unsaved multitudes (v. 25) to salvation:

“So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” (v. 33)

Without a doubt referring to salvation. Every true born again Christian is a disciple from the moment of their conversion, while not every disciple is a true born again Christian. There are many false disciples (e.g. Jn 2:23-25; 6:60-66). The Bible is very, very clear on this: The Call to Discipleship is a Call to Salvation. What Jesus was preaching in Lk 14:15-15:32 is all about salvation. In fact, His public preaching was always about salvation, His gospel, and never anything else.

And then Jesus' confirmation in Matt 19:29-30 of what Peter had said, further indicates that forsaking all and following Christ—what they did in Lk 5:1-11 (parallel passages again Matt 4:18-22 and Mk 1:16-20)—is a clear inference to their conversion:

“And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.”

We note that Jesus ends the affirmation with the promise of eternal and everlasting life: “shall inherit everlasting life” in Matt 19:29, “eternal life” in Mk. 10:30 and "life everlasting" in Lk. 18:30. This is not talking about some kind of everlasting or eternal life. It is everlasting and eternal life. You get this life by trading in your worthless life for that life. It is an exchange. That is faith. It is repentance. You turn and leave something for something else. You leave something temporal for something eternal. That's how the exchange comes about. It is an exchange of masters (Matt. 6:24). It's an exchange of unbelievable and unspeakable things, as noted in 2 Cor 5:21: He takes our sin, and we receive His righteousness.

What is written in Matt 19:29, Mk 10:30 and Lk 18:30 is exactly what the two sets of brothers did to be saved, and what is expected of all repentant sinners (see Matt 10:32-39; Lk 14:25-33). Those who won't lose their lives for Christ and His gospel cannot be His disciple; they cannot be saved (Matt 16:24-26; Mk 8:34-38; 10:21; Jn 12:24-25). Again, referring back to the similar passage of Lk 14:26-33, Matt 19:29 is very similar to what Jesus says in v. 26. and then the language of "inheriting everlasting life" cannot be mistaken. Furthermore, "first shall be last; and the last shall be first" is always referring to salvation and eternity.

7. Seventhly, it is the language of salvation, not sanctification, clearly seen in rightly dividing the word of truth. What we read occurring here corresponds with what Jesus is teaching in the following passages to lost people, which are all the subject of salvation: Matt. 10:32-39; 11:28-30; 16:24-26; Mk. 8:34-38; Lk. 9:23-26, 57-62; 12:8-9; 13:23-30; 14:16-24, 14:25-15:32; 17:26-33; 18:9-17; Jn. 12:24-26. It is also the very same thing preached by Christ in the account of the rich young ruler (Matt. 19; Lk. 18; Mk. 10) and His preaching to the lost multitudes (Lk. 14:25-15:32). For instance, the account of the rich young ruler: "Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me." (Mk 10:21). The call to follow Christ is the call to salvation. These are not and cannot be separated, without greatly damaging the gospel. All the passages in Scripture concerning Christ’s call to “follow me” are about salvation not something post-salvation, sometime during the Christian life. Every true born again believer is a follower of Jesus Christ from the very moment of their conversion until the end of their life (e.g. Ps. 48:14; Jn. 10:1-5, 26-27; Rom. 8:28-29; 1 Cor. 1:6-9; Eph. 1:11, 13; 3:20; Phil. 1:6; 2:10-13; 1 Th. 2:13; 5:23-24; 2 Th. 2:12-17; 3:2-3; 2 Tim. 1:12; 4:18; 1 Pet. 1:5; Heb. 13:20-21). There is no such thing as a born again believer who does not follow Jesus. Such are false believers who have never been regenerated, i.e. converted to Christ (e.g. Jn. 6:60-66).

8. Eighthly, each one of these points on its own reveals that salvation is the subject of Lk. 5:1-11. Commentators such as Matthew Henry are wrong in what they write, such as here:

"What a particular acquaintance Christ, hereupon, fell into with these fishermen. They had had some conversation with him before, which began at John's baptism (Joh 1:40, Joh 1:41); they were with him at Cana of Galilee (Joh 2:2), and in Judea (Joh 4:3); but as yet they were not called to attend him constantly, and therefore here we have them at their calling, and now it was that they were called into a more intimate fellowship with Christ."

This is egregious, erroneous and dangerous on various levels. It doesn't correspond to what Scripture actually teaches. It is actually a false gospel that he is propagating here. There is only one "calling" in God's Word and that is the calling to salvation. Nowhere in the Bible is someone "called" to greater sanctification like Henry is advancing.

Its a two-tiered type of unBiblical Christianity and no wonder so many are hung up on that garbage today, making way too many two-fold children of hell. This two-tiered Christianity is in fact a hallmark of Keswick/ Higher Life/ Deeper Life/ et al Theology, noted to be present in this commentator many years before it became the golden standard of theology for most evangelical and baptist churches. Matthew Henry is also responsible for this heresy, the downfall of many a people over the last century or two. The call of Christ is always a call to salvation, another area Henry is wrong and majority of others preachers because they do not study the Bible or use a perverted modern version or rely on commentators to fill their sermons. These are charlatans and hirelings that do not belong behind a pulpit.

This short report is not enough to explain the Keswick influence, but you can read further here: A Warning on Keswick Theology and Why It‘s So Dangerous, in a Nutshell. Passages have been understood different than their actual meaning, according to Keswick tradition. Keswick theology creates two categories of Christians. First, you have the category of Christian who has only received Jesus as Saviour, but not as Lord. He has been allegedly saved but not sanctified. He has apparently received salvation from the penalty of sin but not from the power of sin. He is supposedly a child of God, but not a disciple of Christ. He is still living in sin and disobedience until he reaches a later point of "dedication." Up to that point, if ever, he is a carnal Christian, living in perpetual disobedience, and yet still saved. Second, you have a professing Christian, who, most often long after he has been saved, surrenders to Jesus as Lord. Both are equally "damnable heresies" peddled by "false teachers" (2 Pet 2:1).

It’s a scandalous gospel that creates two levels of Christianity and two-fold children of hell. This distinction between salvation and discipleship makes them two different things. That is you’ve got salvation and then you’ve got discipleship. Perhaps nothing is done more to undermine the authority and accuracy of Jesus’ evangelistic message. Everything that takes that side strips Jesus of the evangelistic intent of what He says. This is no minor issue. If Jesus said that He came into the world to seek and to save that which was lost (Lk 19:10), then we oughta know what it was that He had in mind when He said it.

The rich young ruler passage is also trouble for the Keswick tradition, and those who will corrupt passages such as Lk 5, Matt 4, and Mk 1. Jesus had an expectation of the rich young ruler that Jesus would rule His life from the get-go, right from the point of conversion. The rich young ruler knew that up front. Most people in today's churches don't know this, because they are intentionally not taught this. Sinners are told that if they want to be saved and go to heaven, they just need to accept Jesus as their Saviour, or they just need to ask Jesus to come into their hearts or invite Him in, or ask to receive the free gift, which are common but unbiblical phrases suited to a deluded gospel. They are not Biblical language. Well intentions and hoping for someone to be saved does not excuse the deluded gospel.

The call to salvation is a call to follow Christ. There is a lot of people who think they are saved, but they are not following Christ, that is, they are not doing what the Bible says they should be doing. They aren’t obeying. They see follow Christ in the Bible but do not believe that the call to follow Him is a prerequisite to being saved, for they have been taught that is something that occurs at some point after you are saved and that it’s not a prerequisite to being saved. So you don’t have to follow Christ to be saved. And you don’t have to deny yourself to be saved. Allegedly these are only for those people that already saved, down the road. We refute this damnable heresy in our article In Mark 8:34-38, Is Jesus Teaching How to be Saved or How to be A Better Christian?

Unfortunately this text out of Lk 5, Matt 4 and Mk 1 is another casualty of Keswick theology, where it is frequently taught as a post-conversion dedication text to a deeper or higher or victorious or abundant or crucified or more consecrated Christian living, but that is eisegesis stemming from a corrupted soteriology and sanctification — certainly not what this unambiguous text on repentance and salvation actually means.


Following Jesus does not always mean the person is saved, but it's always necessary for salvation. All 11 of the 12 apostles were converted when Christ called them to salvation. When and how did Jesus call them? When He said "Come and follow me" to be His disciple. This is always salvation language. Judas would have done the same, but he was a false disciple (like "many" of Christ's disciple — Jn. 6:60-66) and false believer (like many of Christ's professing believers — Jn. 2:23-25). When Jesus called people to be His disciples, to follow Him, He was calling them to conversion. Always. Not sometimes, but always. Sometimes there were false disciples and false believers, but that didn't change the call to salvation. Time would always eventually expose the false professors and followers from the true. All the passages where Jesus gave conditions to His disciples or one "cannot be my disciple", or "not worthy of me" are all referring to salvation (e.g. Matt. 9:24-36; 10:32-39; 16:24-26; 19:16-30; Mk. 8:34-38; Lk. 9:23-26, 57-62; 12:8-9; 13:23-30; 14:7-11, 16-35; 17:25-35; 18:9-17, 18-30; 19:1-10; Jn. 12:24-26).

There is nothing worse for a preacher or teacher than perverting or twisting a passage for whatever reasons, which are either purposeful or careless. When someone uses a passage to justify his own thinking, he’s taking on an activity either identical to or very close to a false prophet. The responsibility of the preacher or teacher is to preach what the Bible says. That starts with what it means. If you miss that, then you’ve missed everything. The Bible doesn’t have power outside of what it actually means.

When Jesus told Peter to feed His sheep in Jn 21, He wasn’t telling Peter to give the sheep of God his opinion or traditions. The Pharisees were giving opinion and tradition. Peter said that preaching that gives glory to God, is preaching that aligns with the Word of God (1 Pet 4:11). You don’t glorify God when you tell people a message other than what a passage means. We live by every Word by understanding every Word. When Paul said “preach the Word” (2 Tim 4:2), he wasn’t saying “use the Word,” as if just using it could work instead of preaching what it actually says. Wresting the scriptures (2 Pet 3:16) is a very serious abuse of the Word of God, and Peter says those who do such things are “wicked” (2 Pet 3:17). The very idea of “preach” is to tell people what God says, not telling people your opinion, what you are thinking and using God’s Words in order to do that.

The only right response to missing what a passage does teach is repentance, genuine repentance. First, listen to what you’ve done wrong. Second, admit you’re wrong. Third, get it right. On the other hand, don’t go into full court justification of false teaching. Not getting it right is bad enough. Don’t make it worse by rabidly defending it when you’re wrong. If you hear something that isn’t what the Bible is teaching, if you allow it, you’re now responsible for it. You’re an accomplice to the crime. You’re now as guilty as the one doing it, when you know. Do not go into all out defense, just because he’s your guy.


Jul 01

But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” Luke 22:32. I do not believe that any of them obeyed the Lord, or believed him even after the resurrection of Jesus instead they went back to fishing. They did not receive the Holy Spirit until Acts 2. Things changed dramatically after that. Why did they not recognize Jesus after the Resurrection? Luke 24:36-49. They did not believe the gospel. They did not believe Jesus when He said He would rise from the dead. Jesus told them that over and over again and they did not believe it. "And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said un…

Jul 01
Replying to

Thanks for your comment.

Luke 22:32 is not referring to conversion in salvation. The word “converted” is translated from the Greek “epistrepho” which means to turn and refers to repentance (Lk 1:16; 1 Th 1:9; Ac 9:35; 11:21; 15:19; , either for salvation or after salvation but not only repentance; it also on occasion applies to other contexts where turn is referring to something other than repentance (e.g. “ And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment.” Mk 13:16 and “And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit…” Ac 16:18, “But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to…

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