How many ways do you deny your Savior?

Have you denied the God who sent His only Son to save you? There are several ways that the Scriptures specifically warn against denying God—are we guilty of them? Let’s look at them, one by one, and examine our hearts in the perfect Light of Christ, who is the Word of God.

“Titus 1:16:  They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.”

 

Photo courtesy of Joe Gardner on Unsplash

You deny God when you say you are a Christian but don’t act like one.

Jesus called the people when He was on the earth “an adulterous and sinful generation.” They were not worse than any generation before or since, except for one thing: He walked among them and they refused to recognize Him. He came to set them free from sin, and they did not acknowledge Him.

Acknowledging Jesus meant many things, but chief among them was that each person was a sinner in need of a Savior. The Pharisees and Sadducees were the religious rulers and teachers. They had the word of God, which they read religiously. That means that every day they sat in the Synagogue, speaking and arguing about what the Scriptures meant. They were so concerned about the letter of the law that they completely missed the Spirit of the law, even when He stood up and spoke before them.

At one point, Jesus called them foolish. He told them that they were so careful to wash the outside of the cups they drank from, not caring that they were filthy inside with greed and wickedness. He said they were guilty not only because they did these things, but because they also prevented people who wanted to know God from doing so.

 

Photo courtesy of Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash

Can you imagine how angry they were when this Jesus, this carpenter, spoke to them in this manner? How dare He! They considered themselves holier than anyone else, and they lorded this self-righteousness over other people.

What do we think we do when we pass judgment on someone else because they are not meeting God’s standards of holiness? Do we think we are?

 

“Luke 18:10-13: Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’”

One of the worst ways we can deny our God is by denying we need to be saved. Even if we know, somewhere deep inside, that we are sinners just like everyone else, if we act in such a way that people  say we have a “holier than thou” attitude, we are denying that we need a Savior.

Even worse is that we are presenting what it means to be a Christ-follower in a bad light so that we are actually turning people away from Him. Like the religious hypocrites of Jesus’ day, we not only don’t go in ourselves, but we prevent others from going in.

So the next time you feel like cutting someone off in traffic while your fish bumper sticker says you’re a Christian, ask yourself if you are not like the Pharisee who thought he was better than the tax collector.

“1 John 2:22 says: Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.”

Denying that Jesus is who He says He is.

Jesus once asked His disciples who the people said He was. They responded that some thought He was a prophet, John the Baptist, or Elijah. But when He asked them who they said He was, Peter answered “You are the Messiah.” Jesus told him that God Himself had revealed that to Peter.

The word messiah means anointed one. In the Old Testament, people were anointed with oil as a symbol of being set apart and consecrated for God’s purposes, imbued with the Holy Spirit’s authority and power. God promised the Jews that He would send an ultimate Messiah and confirmed His word with over 300 Scriptures about the coming Savior.

“Daniel 9:2—Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time.”
But who did Jesus Himself say He was?  He said that He was God in John 20:28-29. In that Scripture, “Doubting Thomas” sees Him alive for the first time and calls Him “my Lord and my God.” Jesus does not rebuke Thomas, but acknowledges that He is God by telling Thomas that those who have not seen yet still believe are blessed.

In John 8:58, Jesus tells the rabbis that “before Abraham was, I AM.” That was a name reserved only for God Himself, and the Jewish leaders tore their robes and then tried to kill Jesus.

In Matthew 26, Jesus tells the high priest while He is under oath that He is the Son of God, the Christ (Christ is the Greek word for Messiah).

He also declared that He and the Father were one.

People who say Jesus was a good man, a great teacher, a prophet, or anything other than God Himself are denying Him. He will not share His glory with anyone, and whoever makes Him less than He said He is is called “antichrist.” God sent Jesus to be the Savior of the world, and He did not provide any other way for us to be saved.

So if you talk to someone who tries to tell you that Jesus is less than God Almighty, that person is denying Him. The result is that when he stand before God, Jesus will deny him.

“2 Timothy 1:8 says: Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God.”

Being ashamed of the Gospel

Some people would rather others not know that they are Christians. They do not stand up for Jesus when His name is maligned. They don’t necessarily say anything against Him, but neither do they open their mouths to protest, either. They’re the ones who are quiet when an inappropriate joke is told in the office, or who listen to the gossip about someone else who isn’t even present to defend themselves.

The people who daily interact with this person would be surprised to learn that she believes in Jesus, because she never opens her mouth to say anything good about God, even if she never actually says anything bad, either. She’s ashamed to admit that she is a sinner. She doesn’t even acknowledge that there is even such a thing as sin.

Jesus says plainly in Mark 8:38 that if we are ashamed of Him in the midst of a perverse generation, He will be ashamed of us before His Father when He returns in glory.

 

Committing Peter’s sin

“Matthew 26:73-74: A little later the bystanders came up and said to Peter, ‘Surely you too are one of them; for even the way you talk gives you away.’  Then he began to curse and swear, ‘I do not know the man!’

Gerard van Honthorst [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

If we think we’re doing pretty well up to this point—we aren’t hypocrites, we tell others who Jesus really is, and we’re happy to spread the Gospel—we need to open our hearts a little wider to that all-revealing Light. Because this next one is an insidious one.

Maybe you think we’ve already covered this one. But what Peter did—denying Christ—most of us do many times every day. How?

We listen to the lies of Satan in our minds, accepting and agreeing with what he says instead of agreeing with what we KNOW Jesus has said. Those worrying little thoughts, those niggling little lies that tell us we are not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough… they’re from Satan, not our Lord and Savior.

Aligning our thoughts with Satan’s thoughts is saying that we don’t know who Jesus is.

Because if we do know who He is, why do we not believe Him?

This is the worst one, in my opinion, because we hardly ever notice it, yet it prevents us from being effective in God’s plan. When we accept the lies of Satan, we turn over our power and authority to the enemy of our God and the one who desires to destroy our souls.

So the next time you’re tempted to listen to the thoughts you know are not from God, drag them into the circle of God’s Light. Because in that circle, everything made of darkness dissolves.