I recently read A. W Tozer's classic little volume, The Pursuit of God. I do not intend this to be a critique of the book, but I do want to highlight a statement that stood out to me:
"The doctrine of justification by faith--a Biblical truth, and a blessed relief from sterile legalism and unavailing self-effort--has in our time fallen into evil company and been interpreted by many in such a manner as actually to bar men from the knowledge of God. The whole transaction of religious conversion has been made mechanical and spiritless. Faith may now be exercised without jar to the moral life and without embarrassment to the Adamic ego. Christ may be 'received' without creating any special love for Him in the soul of the receiver."
I found this to be a very interesting quote. He begins with the doctrine of justification and ties it to knowing God. So often in Evangelicalism men slice up the doctrine of salvation into tiny bits. Many separate justifiication from regeneration. Many see conversion as unrelated to sanctification and discipleship. However, the New Testament views salvation as one act of God with many facets. Justification is a part of salvation as is sanctification and glorification. No man will be sanctified who was not first justified. Conversely, no man is justified in whom God is not working sanctification. In our society of commerce we have made salvation nothing more than an exchange. As Tozer stated: "Conversion has been made mechanical and spiritless." Examples of this kind of evangelism abound. I once read a flyer that said people would be able to pray "the prayer of salvation" at the end of an evangelistic outreach. There is nothing about this kind of decision for Christ that offends the "Adamic ego." It leaves a depraved sinner untouched by grace. A man who claims to have faith in Christ, yet is unchanged, is unchanged in his destiny as well. A man who does not have a love for Christ in his soul, a love that changes his life, is worse than the demons. He believes the right facts, but his soul is left unchanged (Jas 2:18–19). A yearning to know God is an evidence of this change. Too many in our day name Christ as their Lord, but deny him with their life and love.