For many in the Christian world, Jesus is just their savior.
They can tell of a time when they walked an aisle at a church, repeated a sinner’s prayer or simply were baptized at some time in their life for or in recognition of sins forgiven. Some even think that because they believe that Jesus existed, or that they acknowledge that he was a great teacher or prophet, this will guarantee a free trip to heaven. Many are fine with claiming Jesus as their savior as long as the decision puts no responsibility on them. There is no need for transformation or any outward life change.
The Scriptures teach that deciding to be a follower of Jesus requires more than God’s decision to forgive your sins. It is a recognition that he is to be lord or master of your life, which requires surrender to his authority. In the New Testament, the word savior is used 15 times, while the word lord in reference to Jesus is used 618 times. One instance is found in 2 Corinthians 4:5, where the Apostle Paul says that he preaches Jesus Christ as Lord.
I saw this played out in a recent mission trip to Jamaica, where probably 200 people came forward to receive Christ. After prayer, those who came forward were asked to go with counselors and be instructed on their next steps of obedience, including baptism. Only about half decided to go, citing their lack of interest of doing anything more than asking for forgiveness. In other words, they were interested in making Jesus savior, but refused to allow him to be Lord.
After talking to the leadership there, I came to the realization that many just wanted fire insurance.
After all, there is only one kind of Christian: the kind that is willing to make Jesus Lord.