By Leonard Laurialt: church of Christ
Immediately before he ascended back into heaven, Jesus told his disciples, and every Christian since then, to teach others to obey everything he had commanded (Matthew 28: 20).
Previously, he had said that public confession of our faith in him is necessary to our salvation (Matthew 10: 32, 22; Mark 8: 38). There are two aspects to confessing our faith in Christ. First Peter 3: 15, 16 mentions them both, in that, we are to lead live in a way that demonstrates our faith causing others to ask us about it so t hat we can make a verbal confession.
Verbal confession is also initially appropriate to show that one wants to become a Christian. This can be done in a somewhat private setting or in a large crowd. The Ethiopian eunuch confessed his faith to Philip out in the desert to show that he wanted to become a Christian (Acts 8: 26-40, New King James Version). And Timothy made the good confession before many witnesses when he became a Christian (1 Timothy 6: 12).
Faith in Christ leads us to repent of our sinful lifestyle making a change that is apparent to others (1 Peter 2: 11, 12; 3: 15, 16). Our lifestyle then verifies or denies our verbal confession (2 Timothy 3: 14-17). We can make all the claims we want about our faith in Jesus and disprove every one of them by our actions (Titus 1: 16). Many people, including some Christians, have a distorted concept of the Christian life because they haven’t studied God’s word for themselves (2 Timothy 2: 15, 3: 16, 17). Ch ristians must be careful to not give in to the rules of the world in religious matters (Colossians 2: 20-23; Galatians 1: 10) because that will not cause them to respect us enough to ask about our faith.
However, in matters not specified in the Bible, Christians must always obey the laws of the land, whether it be a stop sign or speed limit sign. And we should never interfere with the legal right of others even though it is morally wrong. For example, illegally picketing, much less, bombing an abortion clinic, is contrary to the life God wants us to live. (1 Peter 3: 16-18; 4: 15-19). Pray about such things and talk to people to effect a change in the law or in men’s hearts, but never, NEVER, break the law that does not require you to sin (1 Peter 2: 13-20; Acts 4: 18-20; Matthew 28: 18-20).
Jesus said we should treat others as we would have them treat us (Matthew 7: 12). Because we are recreated in God’s image (Colossians 3: 10), we are his children and heirs and that is how we should act and expect to be treated (Galatians 3: 26, 27; 4: 6, 7; Ephesians 1: 13, 14; Galatians 6: 17). Sure, we are to turn the other cheek when someone slaps us (Matthew 5: 38, 39), but that doesn’t mean that we should purposefully stick out our jaw. We also must remember that all men were created to be in God’s im age and treat them appropriately. Then, we will gain their respect by living the life that proves our faith in Christ by obedience to his commands (1 Thessalonians 4: 11, 12; Titus 2: 9, 10; John 13: 34, 35) and have the opportunity to make a verbal confession of our faith (1 Peter 3: 15,16).
Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God (Matthew 16: 13-18), who gave up his life to pay for your sins (Romans 3: 23; 6: 23; 5: 8) and was raised again so that you also could have eternal life (Romans 5: 10; 6: 3-5)? You need to verbally confess that belief to other Christians (1 Timothy 6: 12). We really love to hear that because it reminds us that we are not alone in the world. You also need to prove your confession of faith through your lifestyle by turning away from sin (2 Ti mothy 2: 19-22) and toward God (Acts 3: 19, 20; Colossians 3: 1-4: 6).
Keep reading God’s word to find out how to please him (Ephesians 5: 10) by obeying the commands of Jesus (Matthew 28: 20; John 15: 14).