A few days ago, I purchased a book from my local Christian bookstore written by A.W. Tozer. The title of the book was, “The Crucified Life: How To Live Out A Deeper Christian Experience.” Actually, it was more of an edited paraphrase of various sermons he had preached during his lifetime. The editor James Snyder did a great job at formatting the material into a book. I chose to read this book, because I heard many good things about A.W. Tozer. I was also intrigued by the first part of the title—the crucified Life.
I rarely agree with everything I read in a book, but I have learned over the years not to throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. I found I can learn something from most everyone who proclaims the gospel of Jesus. After reading part one of the book (Chapters 1-4), there were a few things that stood out to me.
First is the concept that God saves us for obedience to His commands. Jesus didn’t die on the cross to allow us to live in the sins that crucified him. It is true that He forgives us and offers the assurance of salvation. It is equally true that He commands us to live a life that is directed by the Holy Spirit. This means that Christians will want to be obedient to Christ in all things. While it is legalism to insist all Christians must live up to a particular standard of righteousness to maintain salvation, it is biblical to insist on living a holy life.
Furthermore, it is not enough for people to simply know about God. We must have a personal relationship with Him. We might learn everything there is to know about the Bible, but knowledge is worthless if we don’t apply it to ourselves. This is what John Wesley taught when He proclaimed the need for the assurance of salvation. It is one thing to know Jesus died for the sins of humanity, but we need to have the assurance that Jesus died for our sins. If we don’t have the peace that comes with the gift of grace then we have yet to be born again by the Spirit of God.
Finally, many people don’t understand that it is not enough to belong to a church that teaches X, Y, and Z as biblical doctrine. Church membership will not save us. Each of us must stand before God as individuals. There will be no excuses allowed. We are all responsible to learn from the Holy Spirit as we develop a personal relationship with Him. We cannot believe something only because it is part of the fundamental doctrines of a particular church. We are ALL responsible for learning the Bible for ourselves. God will hold us personally accountable.
A.W. Tozer isn’t saying anything Christians have not known since the day of Pentecost. However, we need to be reminded daily of the need to develop our personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Knowing about God will not save us. We must know that Christ lives in our hearts through faith in His atoning blood.