Confession and Denial|
Knowing the Heavenly Father and being known by Him are the greatest blessings that man can know. To know God is to know the source of “every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift,” who is “the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow” (Jas. 1:17). It is to love Him, keep His commandments, and turn away from sin (1John 2:3; 3:6; 5:2-3). To be known by God is to be conformed to the image of Christ, called by the gospel, justified by faith in Christ, and glorified in eternity (Rom. 8:29-30). Those who do not know Him are slaves to worldly things, but Christians are approved by Him as His own children by knowing Him and being known by Him (Gal. 4:1-9). Thus, the value of a relationship with the Father exceeds all others.
This precious relationship with God the Father is completely dependent upon a relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus made this clear when He said in Matthew 10:32-33:
“Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.” (Matt. 10:32-33)
This is a classic example of what we call the Lord’s “golden rule,” which is stated in Matthew 7:12 – “Therefore, however you want people to treat you, so treat them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” In this case, if we want Christ to confess us to the Father, then we must confess Him before men. If we will not confess Christ, then we are denying Him, and we can likewise expect Him to deny us before the Father.
Thus, we see that our confession of Jesus Christ is essential to our spiritual wellbeing, but do we understand what that confession entails? The word “confess” is translated from the Greek word homologeō, which is comprised of two other words – homos, which means “same”, and logos, which means “word.” Therefore, to confess is to say the same thing as another or to agree with another. When we confess Christ, we agree with God that Jesus is His Son.
Making a confession of faith in Christ is necessary for a new convert, but it is important for us understand that this is not the end of a Christian’s obligation to confess Jesus. It is generally understood that a person must confess his belief in Christ before others when obeying the gospel in the same fashion as the Ethiopian of Acts 8:37 (“I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God”). However, the Scripture enjoins more than just this initial confession. Consider Romans 10:10 – “for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” A Christian can no more cease from his confession and still receive salvation than he can cease from his belief and still be righteous. Just as belief must be maintained throughout a Christian’s life, so confession must be maintained also. This is why the writer of Hebrews wrote, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering” (Heb. 10:23).
Moreover, we must also understand that confession is expressed not only through words, but also through thoughts and deeds that are compliant with belief in Christ. Notice Titus 1:16, which speaks of so-called believers who are yet defiled and sinful – “They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.” The word “profess” here is the Greek word homologeō, which is the same word we noticed above as “confess.” This verse indicates to us that confessing belief with the mouth is of no value if we do not believe Christ in our hearts and work for Him with our bodies. Failure to obey the Lord is a nonverbal way of denying Him, and such behavior will garner the Lord’s denial of us before the Father (Matt. 7:21-23).
Therefore, let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering. Let us speak and act as the Lord has directed and thereby confess Him as the Son of God to all who interact with us. Do not perceive confession and denial as verbal expressions only, but see them in terms of ways of life. A life of confession is a pattern of saying and doing that which is in harmony with the will of Christ. A life of denial can be characterized by verbal expressions of disbelief (such as Peter’s denials, Matt. 26:69-75), but it can also be characterized by a cold heart and the failure to do right (Jas. 4:17). Understanding these things, let us therefore make our lives a continual confession of faith in Christ that leaves no doubt of our allegiance to the Lord.
Stacey E. Durham
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