Realizing recently such a word, “followers of Christ,” is used among the Christian community, I felt of unease by that new “norm.” We live by typically the belief and yet healthy belief of salvation by faith alone. We are justified by faith through grace. The Bible tells at least 27 references on justification by faith (https://carm.org/verses-showing-justification-by-faith). It is the bottom line of Christianity. It is the theme of Christianity. It is because we depend on His work done on the cross. Obviously, faith should be followed by its action as the Epistle of James says (James 2:24). Faith without action is dead faith. Conversely, action without faith is self-righteous. So faith is a presupposition of all events that follow afterward. Let’s see the building blocks of the Bible principles. How about the word Christians? It was originated in Antioch according to the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 11:19 -26). How about the Jesus’ twelve disciples or apostles? They were the followers of Jesus. Typically Jesus said to them like, “Follow Me.” That made them into the disciples and then the apostles because they accompanied Him.
By definition, the followers like the disciples (apostles) were specifically chosen people to fulfill the task of Jesus’ ministry. We know those followers were small numbers who were set aside from other believers to perform exclusively for the purposes of Jesus, the Master. The followers were under the direct supervision of their Master.
When we use the term “followers,” it sounds like a sect where you belong to. While “believers” sounds like embracing large numbers of people under a certain group. Followers tends to separate themselves from believers. Do you need to be the followers in order to be accepted by Jesus, the Master? No, you don’t. It is the believers that are accepted by Jesus, the Master. Believers in Jesus is always of the basic teaching of the Bible. The believers as well as the followers can be known by their fruits (Matthew 7:15-20). – T