TEST OF ADMISSION
For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. Romans 10:10
Confession for the early church (and ultimately for me) was important because the times were perilous for Christians. To admit that you were a disciple of Christ was to potentially sign a death warrant. A person didn’t play at Christianity like it’s easy to do today in a country where Christianity might even bring power, opportunity, and prestige.
Still, I don’t want to underestimate the cost, even today, for so many. There are those who are hated in families, scorned and cast out, just because they love Christ and put His ways over the sacred family way of doing things. To proclaim an allegiance to Jesus over father and mother can carry heavy consequences.
God knew this and gave us scriptures about ‘shame’ for comfort. Isaiah 28:16 Therefore the Lord God said: “Look, I have laid a stone in Zion (Jesus), a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; the one who believes will be unshakable.” If I embrace Christ and give Him my life, He will give me the strength to show my face, speak of my love and devotion, without hiding and nullifying my faith in front of others who are antagonistic.
And this one. Romans 9:33 Look! I am putting a stone in Zion to stumble over and a rock to trip over, yet the one who believes on Him will not be put to shame. The phrase ‘put to shame’ comes from a phrase that means ‘to fly away and escape conscious danger’.
Confession is so important. It is a test of our sincerity. Jesus admitted that He was one that would be stumbled over. One does not make a decision to follow Him without counting the cost. Comfort now but eternal condemnation and separation from Him later. Or, eternal life and intimacy with Love now (embracing the dangers) and eternal security later.
So much about Jesus makes me stumble; both in coming to salvation and in the ways of discipleship. His truth, though liberating, is convicting and uncomfortable. But just as He gives me the grace to bear up against outward pressure, He also gives me the grace to stand under the power of His conviction. When I follow, no matter when and where, there is abundant life.
Run away? May it be never. But if I do, it will only be momentary until I come to my senses. You are worth any cost. Amen