I remember hearing a comedy sketch one time about an “undercover Christian.” Someone for whom his faith was “a personal thing.” Something he kept to himself.
But Jesus has another word for an undercover Christian. A hypocrite. An actor. Someone who when he walks in the “Christian world,” talks and acts like a Christian. But when he gets out in the secular world, pretends that he doesn’t know Christ at all.
But Jesus says in this passage, sooner or later, your “secret” will get out.
I heard a story of an undercover Christian here in Japan. He prayed to receive the Lord, but was afraid of what his parents would say. And so he determined to “show his love” for his parents by continuing to offer incense and praying at the Buddhist altar in his parent’s house. But his secret got out. And when it did, his father went ballistic. He said, “You’ve been a Christian all this time, and you continued to do these things at the Buddhist ceremonies? What kind of Christian are you?” Instead of “enhancing” his witness by “showing his love,” it greatly damaged it.
I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God.
Does this mean that if we’ve ever disowned Jesus before others, that we’ve lost our salvation? No. Peter, remember, disowned Jesus three times in a time of weakness.
I remember as a junior high school and high school student also denying my faith, or at least, being silent about it, even when being asked point blank about it.
But we cannot consistently deny Christ before others and still call ourselves Christians. Either you are a Christian, and you proclaim that fact before others, or you’re not.
One of the main points of baptism is to make that proclamation. To tell the world who you belong to now. And if you refuse to do that, can you really call yourself a Christian?
Let us not be undercover Christians. But let us proclaim him who died for us and rose again. Some will reject us if we do. But others will find the joy that we ourselves have found. Isn’t that worth it?