I’m always on the look-out for simple illustrations of Biblical truths that most people can easily understand. Here’s one—
I listened to an evangelist tell the story of how people in his home church grew upset when he started leading people to Christ, and the church began to grow. Some of the old-timers didn’t like it because the new-timers were younger, fresh out of American “paganism,” and very rough around the edges in how they looked and acted.
The evangelist said, “I thought if I caught the fish, they would help clean ‘em. But it turns out they wanted the fish cleaned before they came to church!”
It occurred to me, isn’t that a great illustration of the difference between salvation and discipleship?
Salvation is catching the fish.
Discipleship is cleaning the fish.
Does the fish need to be cleaned before you catch it? Of course not! In the same way, you don’t need to clean up your life before you can believe in Jesus and be born again (John 3:3, 16). The only kind of people God justifies are the ungodly (Rom 4:5). The cleaning up comes after you’re born again, not before.
And if the fish doesn’t get cleaned, does that mean you never caught it in the first place? Again, no. Catching and cleaning are two different steps, so don’t go basing your assurance of salvation on whether or not you’ve been “cleaned.”
I thought that was a down-to-earth way of illustrating the difference between salvation and discipleship, don’t you?
By the way, does your church know how to clean fish?