Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Matthew 10:32-33

Those are a couple of verses where I wish I could just look at those verses and say "this is what that means" without concern for context. I think in fact that a lot of people do just that with these two verses. We look at these and think "ok, cool, I can handle that, I'm all good here." Haven't read those verses lately? Here they are in a nut shell (not that I should need to summarize two verses), if you disown Christ, he will disown you. See, we can handle that. I mean, seriously, how many people that "know" Christ will ever disown him before other people? And even if we do, we can always look at Peter's denial of Christ and conclude Jesus must not have been too serious with that one. Or just, as we should (I do mean this) point to 1 John 1:9 when we realize our denial and repent of it.

Now of course when I dig in a bit deeper on this and actually get some context these two verses are MUCH more difficult for me. At the least you have to read down through verse 39 to get the immediate context. When you do that you see the real sentiment of Christ's words. Again, summarized: it's all Christ, or it's all self. Maybe that is a bit too concise, but it really is the heart of what he says there. You either choose Christ and his desires, or you choose yourself and your own desires. If you choose your own desires, then according to Christ's own words, that choice is equated to disowning Him. Likewise, if you avoid "picking up your own cross" then you disown Christ. Read Matthew 10:32-39. See what I mean?

Now take let's actually look at Peter's denial and see how that fits. Peter had mostly given up his entire life to follow Christ for three years. Peter left his job, left his family, went on the road without concern for food, clothes, or shelter to be with Christ. Now, granted he did worry from time to time about those things. But still, he DID acknowledge Christ and followed Him. Then at Christ's arrest, he turned on Him. Peter three times completely denied Jesus, even knowing Him. His fear of losing his own security, his own life suddenly overtook him and Peter disowned Christ. So, according to the Matthew text, Peter's gets disowned by Christ now, right? Well, maybe if the story ended there at Peter's denial, then yes. But it doesn't of course. Nope, Peter repents of that after Christ's victory over death and now fully gives up his own life to choose Christ's life for his own. Peter now devotes himself completely to following Christ and Christ alone. He now gets along his way with no concern at all, no worry at all for things not of Christ. Clearly, then the Matthew text isn't just about an outward, verbal statement. While it may include that verbal side, it is much deeper and about the inward, heart-changed life. This will show in every aspect of what we do and say in the "fruit of the spirit" being produced in our lives.

So, while I think I usually take a half-baked view of what it means to disown Christ and think there is no way I would EVER do like Peter and deny Christ, in actuality I probably deny Christ, as the Matthew text defines it, every single day many times a day. In truth then, I have disowned Christ. If you wonder why I seem so urgent and concerned for my salvation in many of these posts, this should start to help you understand that a bit more. Take a hard look at whether people looking in on you would say you choose Christ over your own desires. See if people would think you choose sports, TV, brothers/sisters, wives/husbands, kids, work, whatever over Christ. Better yet, imagine yourself before Him and HONESTLY answer to the One who knows for certain your motives whether you choose Him or your own life. I know my answer at this point would have to be I have been choosing my own life. It is time for repentance for me. And that is when I turn and hope in 1 John 1:9. He is faithful and Just. He will forgive me. WHEN I confess and repent. I still have work to do and choices to make. My actions, fruit will show when that happens.