“If you deny Me before men, I will deny you before My Father in Heaven.” (Matthew 10:33)
During today’s reading, pause for a few moments to thoughtfully reflect on this statement, “… I am not ashamed of the gospel…” (Romans 1:16) Where do you currently stand on your public identification with heaven’s gospel message? Has it actually dawned on you that God’s love is fully unconditional, but going to heaven is definitely – not? That’s why the world needs your testimony! Your willingness to remain silent when you understand this reality should be a deep cause of spiritual concern. Silence can indicate the presence of unwanted fear and “… God has not given us a spirit of fear…” (2 Timothy 1:7) It could also mean that though you truly love your Savior and desire to follow Him closely, you are never-the-less easily intimidated.
In daily conversations, do you find yourself subconsciously avoiding references to your faith? If so, you may be submitting to an attitude of cowardice. Your silence may also suggest that your heart has grown spiritually cold (see Revelation 3:15-16). Over time, have you repeatedly been quiet, missing valuable opportunities to witness and simply laid down your armor? This can create a habit of silence caused by – the fear of man!
Gaze inwardly, and quietly examine your heart. Consider Matthew 10:33 above. Does it seem amazing to you that any recipient of God’s wonderful grace would ever knowingly choose to deny Him? This may seem improbable, but that’s exactly what Peter did! We know from Scripture that his cowardice was caused by fear rather than by actual disbelief. Said simply, his intentional sin was lying. That’s why his denial was – forgiven!
The Lord is patient, but He deserves to know that we will all speak out when our personal testimonies are needed. He anticipates our spontaneous obedience! The Bible declares that our message when delivered and accepted becomes, “…the power of God unto salvation….” (Romans 1:16)
Who is included in heaven’s invitation to accept God’s love? The Bible explains, “Both the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ … the one who is thirsty should come. Whoever desires should take the living water as a gift.” (Revelation 22:17) The invitation to receive Calvary’s grace is universal! However, make no mistake about it; we are never to cheapen God’s gift by taking it for granted. The Lord Jesus’ – eternal love, like every other gift, must be recognized and personally received. This is an honest matter of the heart so, “… everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13)
Salvation is Biblically both available and inclusive, but definitely not automatic. The Scripture explains, “For in the gospel, the righteousness of God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last.” (Romans 1:17) Expressed simply, “The one who believes in the Son has eternal life…” (John 3:36) The conditional factor is personally acting on the authority of what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross and through His resurrection.
The great news is that a sincere childlike prayer of repentance and confession of faith, fully constitutes – salvation! The Bible explains, “… if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10) The Bible does not say that you might or could be saved, but promises that you will be saved if you confess that Jesus is your Lord!
Historically, the Lord’s disappointing believers who willingly chose to follow Him at a distance, were never privileged to be effectively used or rewarded (see Revelation 3:15). Whenever half-heartedness is chosen, we can rest assured that at His return as the King of kings and Lord of lords, He will not approve of any “lukewarmness.” The Bible reflects on this subject by saying, “If a man’s work is burned up, he will experience loss, but he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.” (1 Corinthians 3:15) However, the Lord will faithfully reward those who have followed Him closely.
Our Savior warned, “If anyone is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” (Mark 8:38) Don’t let your silence “down here” hurt your reputation “up there!” Determine never to let fear steal away your future rewards! Remember – on the great day of the Lord’s return it will be His desire to say, “Well done, My good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21)
By Billie Hanks Jr.