“They Will Flatter Him, But Never Obey Him.”
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
As few years ago, I had the opportunity of meeting the esteemed theologian, James I. Packer. At the time, the Lordship Salvation controversy was brewing. The debate centered on whether an individual needed to believe in Jesus as both Lord and Christ in order to be saved. Some teachers said, “Savior only” and while others believed Christ’s Lordship was essential to his saving work. I asked Dr. Packer his opinion. I will never forget his response, “You cannot have half of Jesus to have Jesus is to have all of him.” Dr. Packer was referring to the words of Peter, “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified” (Acts 2:36). You cannot have half of Jesus, he must be Lord and Savior. In other words, Jesus cannot be considered a person’s Savior, bringer of salvation, without simultaneously being Lord of that person’s life. When we believe Jesus as Savior and Lord, he is no quasi-Christ.
Salvation comes not by “accepting the finished work” or “deciding for Christ.” It comes by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, the whole, living, victorious Lord who, as God and man, fought our fight and won it, accepted our debt as His own and paid it, took our sins and died under them and rose again to set us free. This is the true Christ, and nothing less will do.
But something less is among us, nevertheless, and we do well to identify it so that we may repudiate it. That something is a poetic fiction, a product of the romantic imagination and maudlin religious fancy. It is a Jesus, gentle, dreamy, shy, sweet and feminine, almost effeminate, and marvelously adaptable to whatever society He may find Himself in. He is cooed over by women disappointed in love, patronized by pro tem celebrities and recommended by psychiatrists as a model of a well-integrated personality. He is used as a means to almost any carnal end, but he is never acknowledged as Lord. These quasi Christians follow a quasi Christ. They want his help but not his interference. They will flatter him but never obey him.
A. W. Tozer, The Warfare of the Spirit (Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, 1993), 173.