Are you a Peter?

How do you act when you are not in church or not among your Christian friends?  Do you wear your Christianity like a badge of honor for people to see, or do you store that badge in the drawer next to the dusty Bible until you go to church on Sunday morning?  In Matt. 26:69-75, Peter denies Christ 3 times, even doing so with an oath, swearing he did not know the Savior.  As most people already know, the rooster then crows, and Peter remembers the words of Jesus, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.”  I imagine that was not one of his favorite moments, and I am pretty sure he felt the shame of his denial, but he is not the only one that does that.  Unfortunately, that practice is more common than you may think amongst professing believers.

If we go to church every Sunday and profess his glory in the company of other Christians but then live like heathens when they are not around, we are, in essence, denying Him.  We cannot have one foot in the church’s door and the other in the world.  We cannot live two lives separate from each other as we try and please God on the one hand and the world on the other.  In fact, we are warned of that very attitude in James 4:4, “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” When you put Christ on in baptism, you must put off the things of the world.  You cannot decide when and when not you will be faithful to Christ. The problem is that the deceptive allure of the fleeting recognition of the world traps many Christians into an unfaithful relationship with Christ.  We then end up cheating on Him in the same way an adulterer cheats on their spouse.

Of course, we all know the danger of explicitly denying Christ because it is clearly articulated in scriptures like Matt. 10:33, “but whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.” The end of anyone who is not faithful is eternal separation from God, resulting in everlasting agony in hell.  But we should not be fooled into thinking that verbalizing it is the only way to deny Him.  The saying “actions speak louder than words” is an excellent analogy for this because it is also by our actions that we confess or deny our Lord and Savior.  Deciding to follow God through Christ our Lord is always our choice, but once we choose to do so and put Christ on in baptism, we do not have the option to live double lives and get away with it.  That choice remains ours to make, but the consequences of doing so are dire, and we ought to think carefully before committing to Christ if we are only going to be half-hearted about it.

In Rev. 3:15-16, we read the following words, “I know your works:  you are neither cold nor hot.  Would that you were either cold or hot!  So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”  Words of warning that clearly illustrate the dangers of denying Christ by our actions.  Can you confidently say that your actions are evidence of your faith, or are you a Peter, denying Christ for fear of what the world will think of or do to you?

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