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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

CONFESS JESUS BEFORE MEN

Luke 12:8-9 Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess Me before men, him shall the Son of man also comfess before the angels of God: but he that denieth Me before men shall be denied before the angels of God. (See Matt. 10:32-33)

One cannot read, understand, and believe this scripture without the realization that the final judgment of each man and woman that has ever lived on earth is in the hands of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Our eternal destiny depends completely on His confession or denial of our obedient faithfulness to our Creator - the God of Heaven and Earth. To confess, as used in the lesson text, means to admit, attest to, acknowledge, or affirm something to be true. Where there may be doubt, the term "confess" means to give authenticity that allows something to be proven as valid and removes any contradiction. On the other hand, "denieth" means to openly and emphatically declare something to be untrue. To deny something is to challenge and/or refuse to accept that which others may deem to be right or truthful, despite any facts, experience, or representations that may lead one to confess it to be real and genuine.

With this in mind, the lesson text finds Jesus making this statement to His Jewish audience: Whosoever shall confess Me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God. What a great and powerful tenet of the doctrine of salvation for all followers of Christ. To acknowledge Jesus to be the promised Messiah, and Savior of the world, is to, not only speak that confession before men, but to adopt the doctrine of Christ, and, to the best of our abilities, let it regulate our lives here on earth. That confession is one of the necessary elements of obedience in becoming a Christian, and is assured in Paul's letter to the Christians of Rome. To them, he wrote That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation (Rom. 10:9-10). Confession is the element of faith that precedes being buried in water baptism for the remission of sins. This doctrinal truth was made evident with the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch by the disciple Philip. Convinced by the teaching of Philip, the eunuch realized the final act of becoming a Christian was to be baptized for the remission of his sins. Seeing sufficient water to do so, the eunuch asked Philip, what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And here is the eunuch's confession: I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, after which they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. (See Acts 8:26-39). This is an example of the confession of the Lord Jesus that leads to the hope of salvation.

The confession that Jesus Christ is the Son of God is a spiritual act that demonstrates to the world around us that we have become His followers and will never be ashamed of doing so. And, at times, in order to continue this devoted relationship to the cause of Christ, we must be willing to become a partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God (2 Tim. 1:8b). To all that humbly confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God (1 John 4:15). As He did to the church of Christ in Sardis, Jesus assures each of His followers today that He will not remove their name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels (See Rev. 3:4-5). Confession, as referred to in the lesson text, does not only mean the single, one-time acknowledgement that Jesus is the Son of God, prior to baptism, but it also means an on going confession of that commitment that is evidenced by our manner of life that follows, that is, our conduct in which we teach others by the things we say and do.

Likewise the denial of Christ as the Savior not only applies to the few times we, in weak moments, fail to stand firm for the cause of Christ similar to Peter's denial during Jesus' trial before the Sanhedrin and the Roman governors. Such sinful instances can be forgiven through heart-felt repentance. It applies more severely to those that spend their lifetime demonstrating their refusal to accept Jesus as their Savior, and, by their conduct, lead others to also deny the Son of God. Again, the Holy Spirit-inspired Paul gave us this clear teaching on this subject: If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him: if we deny Him, He also will deny us (2 Tim. 2:12). To sacrifice the things of this world in order to confess Jesus to be the Son of God is to gain the hope of eternal life. To place a greater value on things of the earth than on the promises of heaven is to sacrifice the blessings of God on earth, and lose all hope in eternity hereafter.