“Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. but whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven” (Matt 10:32-33).
Among the several ways in the New Testament by which proper response to God, and improper response, are pictured, this is one of the most striking. We either confess him or deny him. It has to mean, of course, far more than just making a statement with the mouth, and seeing it in context helps that point to stand out. Romans 10:10 makes reference to confession with the mouth. Here, in Matthew 10, far more is emphasized.
Notice that in the context, Jesus is preparing his disciples for a life of hardship, setting before them a picture of having their message rejected (v. 14), being in circumstances of danger (v. 16), being brought up on civil charges (vv. 17-18), having family members to betray them (v. 21) and yea, to be hated of all men (v. 22). Now, such a foreboding picture immediately would cause weak men to think in terms of taking an unfaithful course in order to avoid the peril. Jesus then urges: “Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (v. 28).
Now, after those points, he states our text verses, showing that the confessing is CONFESSING IN LIFE, AND WITH LIFE, and with forfeiture of life if necessary! In like manner, one could, for sake of fear or other unworthy motivation, choose to be disloyal and refuse to bear whatever burdens that come, and perhaps save the life, but it would be in denial of the Lord! In reality, to REFUSE TO CONFESS is to DENY!
We can continually express thanks that we live in circumstances wherein one can have faith, life in faith, serve in faith and teach the faith, and persecution of a physical way will not come. Yet, there are other ways wherein many fail to confess him, having to do, simply, with faithfulness. They do not confess him in consistently living for him, serving him, worshipping him, etc. Thus, they are in denial of him! And it is all the more shameful because friends, family and neighbors know that we propose to be Christians. Then, we end up, before all of these, living contrary to his purposes for us. We thus deny him! The question, for you and me: Is my daily life a CONFESSION of the Lord, or is it a DENIAL?