Failing to acknowledge God is a life-long practice that people get very good at. They have others to help them, and the practice has been handed down and refined over many generations. Among those who deny him, some simply don’t deal with the issue and just preoccupy themselves with other stuff in this world—perhaps in the hope it will go away. Others set about convincing themselves that Jesus isn’t who he claimed to be, and they try to get as many on board as possible—sort of a safety in numbers psychology: confirmation by peers.
But, as popular as it is to deny God and Christ, there are still those who acknowledge both. But many don’t carry through their acknowledgement into practice. They acknowledge Jesus, but don’t do as he says. This was something Jesus saw even when he was on earth: he asked, “Why do you call me, “Lord, Lord,” but you do not practise what I say?” (Luke 6:46)
He went on to say, “The people who hear my words and do not obey are like a man who builds a house without preparing a foundation. When the floods come, the house falls down easily and is completely destroyed." (Luke 6:49 ERV) Jesus makes it clear that if we are to call him Lord, and be genuine about it, then our priorities must change. What he calls us to do must take priority, first place above everything and everyone else in our lives. Otherwise, our lives are a living denial of the Lordship of Christ.
Of such people, Paul says in Titus 1:16, “their deeds deny him”. They are a living denial of Christ, despite calling him “Lord”. Personally, I’d find that a very scary and stressful way to live. If I don’t submit to Jesus — even though I say he’s Lord (i.e. El supremo ruler) — if I don’t put him first in everything, my number one priority, then I’m knowingly putting myself in daily peril. Jesus Christ plainly said it, and knowing that would stress me no end, because I know he should be obeyed, but I’m not doing it.
They say that confession is good for the soul. “Confess” is another word for acknowledge. The opposite is to deny. Romans 10:9-10 says that if you believe and confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, you will be saved; but (as we’ve seen) scripture also says that if our actions deny our mouth’s confession, then confession is not good for the soul. It’s a recipe for death by hypocrisy — and let’s not forget who was history’s most outspoken critic of hypocrisy: Jesus Christ.
So acknowledging Christ involves more than just confessing our belief in him, and his Lordship, with the mouth. Action must follow: obedience to the Lord. At least most of those who refuse to acknowledge God and who Jesus is live consistently with their denial. Let’s be sure to live consistently with our confession.
In the words of Proverbs 3:6, “In all your ways acknowledge him”. That’s the safe and consistent path. That “is life and peace” (Romans 8:6).