“If anyone publicly acknowledges me before men, I will publicly acknowledge him before my Father in Heaven. But anyone who denies me before men I will deny before my Father in Heaven.” — Matthew 10:32–33
Some things Jesus said may not be high on my most-important list, but if those words are life-saving, I should pay attention, shouldn’t I? The life I save could be my own. As I consider what Matthew wrote, I’m thinking that maybe confessing Christ should be at the top of the list.
Salvation is more than a “confession of faith.”
After delivering a sermon of encouragement, a pastor asked everyone to recite what we might call “a sinner’s prayer.” Then he said, “If you said those words, you’re born again.”
Really? It’s that simple? I say a few words, and my life is transformed. I’m what they call a “new creature in Christ Jesus.” Now I can keep doing whatever I’ve been doing, and God will bless me, giving me whatever I ask. All I have to do is believe. What a deal!
Sounds great. If only it worked that way.
Our confession is validated among those who might disagree.
Just as a flashlight has no value in broad daylight, our confession has little meaning among people who share our convictions. The darkness proves whether our light is real.
Among a crowd of unbelievers, shall I hide my light or let it shine? Should I drink and laugh and have fun among sinners like Jesus did? Maybe I should be like the Pharisees and teachers of the Law who avoided such events altogether.
Each evening during a week-long business convention, I had the opportunity to attend Happy Hour. I wasn’t there to “share Jesus” or be noticed by anything other than the fact that while others held an alcoholic beverage, I was drinking a steaming cup of coffee. And if someone were to ask why my jokes were clean when so many others were not, I had an answer that pointed to a special relationship we can have with the Lord.
If we want Jesus to acknowledge us in Heaven, then telling our stories, how he changed our lives, is crucial.
I wonder about the centurion who came to Jesus, seeking healing for his servant. With his Roman background and belief in many gods, how did he become convinced that Jesus could do a miracle because he served the Supreme Power of the universe?
Some people must have shared their stories, letting their light shine through the darkness of pagan belief.