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.Matthew 10:32-33
This pair of verses is continually misused to coerce or scare people into confessing that Jesus is their Savior so He won’t deny them salvation before God. Let me just say this, context means everything!
Jesus is giving a charge to the first ministers of the gospel. He had just told them that whatever they heard in secret to preach from the rooftops. The job of the preacher is to declare that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God!
Those that faithfully deliver this message, Jesus will acknowledge before the Father that they are faithful ministers of the gospel. The result will no doubt be a blessing from the Father of Mercies on the ministry of the faithful preacher.
Those who do not faithfully preach that Jesus is the Christ, Jesus will not acknowledge their ministry before God the Father. The result will no doubt be a removal of fellowship and blessing by God the Father in the life and ministry of the unfaithful preacher.
In either case, the confession and denial that Jesus does has no bearing on the eternal salvation of the person under consideration. This is talking about the ministers of the gospel.
A clear example of this is found in Peter’s denial of Jesus on the evening of His trial. Peter caved under persecution, denied that he was a disciple, and even cursed about it. At no time during that night or the three days to follow did Peter lose His salvation for it was not secured by Peter’s faithfulness. It was secured in the redemptive work of Christ.
However, Peter was miserable.
He lost focus and was clearly no longer being directed by the Holy Spirit to go and preach. It was not until Jesus came to him on the lake that Peter had any relief and felt close fellowship with God again.
Too many think that the gospel ministry is like a regular job or career. Worse yet, some treat it like the role of an entertainer. No, the ministry of the gospel is a very serious occupation. When a man stands before people, he has the responsibility to preach the truth about God no matter what men think. The preacher must endure hard times and persecutions which sometimes even come from those he loves.
I think James is referring to this same subject when he instructs men to not be so eager to be “in charge.”
My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.James 3:1