Monday, February 7, 2011

“Deserting” and The Confessing Faith

“When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. And Jesus said to them, “You will become deserters; for it is written,

‘I will strike the shepherd,

and the sheep will be scattered.’

~Mark 14:26-27 (NRSV).

Of course, this above is precursory to the foretelling of Peter’s denial. We, ourselves, don’t like to be associated with ‘this’ Peter, but this is who we are. God knows and accepts our occasional denials; as Peter was forgiven, so are we, accorded of our repentance.

The facts are, everyone deserts God at one time or other, whether via lack of (or inappropriate) ‘confession’ in the presence of family or friends, or via departure from the Lord’s will—everyone sins.

It’s important to know that God accepts that this will happen.

Choices For and Against God

A choice for the fellowship of secular humanity is usually a choice against God. Many times in fellowship with non-Christians we know it. We laugh at a crude joke or join in the sarcasm or make light of a justice issue. Instantly the Spirit is heeding us to this. This is the time to repent in silence.

Choices for and against God are stark and pointed. They’re like east and west.

Yet, we’re required to interact with the secular world as salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16). This helps explain our difficulty and, at times, persecution (Matthew 10:16-24).

A ‘Confessing’ Faith

Jesus said,

“Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven.”

~Matthew 10:32-33 (NRSV).

This—along with the earlier Matthew 7:21-23 passage—is a warning to be careful not to deny God.

But there are times, and God accepts this, that for want of courage we do desert God as Peter did; these times are not reason for Christ’s denial of us in heaven, for repentance is the key. The unrepentant ones are the ones that Jesus does not know.

Still, it is required of us to have a confessing faith: to proclaim we’re Christian as the opportunities afford themselves, to glorify God (for it would make little sense to proclaim belief in Jesus’ name when it wouldn’t glorify him).

This is an important issue for many Christians, especially those who’ve had verses like Matthew 10:32-33 thrust in their faces by legalistically ardent believers.

Jesus will not deny before the Father the person fervent in their repentance.

A bold confession in Christ at the right time is God’s will beautifully manifest, but none of us is perfect. We are destined to shrink from time to time, just as we’re destined to ‘confess’ Christ at times when these very occasions bring him no glory for matters are, we’ve sinned; sometimes by how we’ve done it.

Again, our best for God is achieved in confessing Christ with integrity, so all people might see the power in the delivered will of the Lord.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

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