At first I thought I missed it. I am by no means infallible, and though I’d read certain passages within God’s Word vehemently contradicting what I was hearing from not one, or two, but more and more preachers and teachers – and continue to hear to this day – I was open to the possibility that perhaps I’d read certain passages too fast, or didn’t see certain words as I ought have.
There were too many men claiming certain theories as undeniable fact, and doing so with such authority and vehemence that I began to wonder if I’d somehow missed the boat, if I’d somehow misread the Word and had for all these years decided to make life harder on myself just because I was striving for some unattainable figment of my own imagining.
Persecution hasn’t even started in America, yet more and more believers are looking for justification and permission to deny Jesus, save their skin, and apologize later. If, as some major Christian figures have stated we can be first in line for the mark of the beast and still make it into heaven long before the door is shut, who is a little denial of one’s Lord and Savior going to harm?
It’s not like we would really mean it, and we can always apologize after the fact, having been wise enough to spare ourselves undue distress.
Save for the Gospel, the excuses, justifications, and explanations we give to ourselves for having hypothetically denied Jesus if we were ever called upon to suffer for His name’s sake, are plausible and would even serve to appease our burdened conscience for a season.
It is the Gospel that dispels these childish notions, and clarifies this position once and for all.
I did. I wanted to be sure. I went back and read all the relevant passages, and though I find myself in the minority, I realize I didn’t miss it on this one, and when Jesus said, ‘If you deny me before men, I will deny you before my Father in heaven,’ He didn’t qualify it at all.
He didn’t say, ‘If you deny me before men, and really mean it,’ or ‘if you deny me before men and don’t cross your fingers before you do,’ or, ‘if you deny me before men and don’t apologize afterwards.’
Matthew 10:33, “But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.”
Mathew 10:38, “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.”
Matthew 16:25, “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My name’s sake will find it.”
Maybe it’s just my translation of the Bible. I’ll bet that’s what it is. There couldn’t really be that many preachers out there teaching things contrary to the words of Jesus just to placate the cowards in their pews could there?
I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but there are no qualifiers when it comes to denying Jesus. You can’t do it just on Wednesdays, you can’t do it if you plan of apologizing after, and you can’t do it only if your life is in mortal danger. Jesus did not qualify His statement with any adjectives. He simply said, ‘if you deny Me, I will deny you!’
We can’t allow for personal opinion when it comes to Scripturally established issues, and though we might be tempted to twist ourselves into a pretzel trying to make these passages say something they don’t, the truth is far simpler, if ever more unpleasant a thing to contend with for the flesh.
‘Whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.’ Seems pretty straightforward to me, but then again, I don’t have the weight of a seminary degree to tilt my perception to the left.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.