Monday, June 23, 2014

Secret Salvations

Last Tuesday night while evangelizing in a park, I approached two men and a woman who all claimed to be Christians. But when I asked them to say “Jesus is my Lord”, none of them would do that. The woman replied, “My relationship with God is personal.” I then pointed out Jesus said He won’t confess us before the Father if we won’t confess Him before men (Matthew 10:32-33). After ministering to the three for a few more minutes, they all prayed to get born again.

There are examples in the Bible of people being afraid of professing faith in Jesus. His brothers didn’t speak openly of Him “...for fear of the Jews” (John 7:13) as well as the parents of a blind man healed by Jesus. These parents insisted their son speak for himself “..,for the Jews had agreed already that if anyone confessed that He was Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue.” (John 9:22)

Following the crucifixion, a secret disciple named Joseph of Arimathea who also feared the Jews asked for Pilate’s permission to “...take away the body of Jesus.” (John 19:38) Then on Resurrection Day “...the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews.” (John 20:19)

And of course there was Peter denying the Lord three times following Jesus’ arrest. But after being filled with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, Peter preached the gospel with boldness. The Apostle Paul also preached fearlessly in the midst of all kinds of calamities.

Most believers in Western nations don’t have to face severe persecution like those who live within the 10/40 Window. Recently I read about a former Muslim from Syria now living in Oklahoma who is suing a church for publishing his baptism announcement. The church had assured him his conversion and baptism would be kept secret. However, radical Muslims noticed the online announcement when he traveled back to Syria. As a result, this man was attacked, kidnapped, and tortured for days before escaping.

In publications like The Voice of the Martyrs, I’ve seen photos of believers’ faces partially hidden. Certainly I don’t want to be critical of brethren who feel this is necessary to protect themselves and their families. Regardless of where we live, God wants us to use wisdom so we don’t attract more persecution than necessary. 

On the other hand, Jesus said in Luke 17:33, “Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.” We are expected to testify of Him even in the most difficult circumstances. Look at what the Lord said in Matthew 10...

16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. 
17 But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues. 
18 You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. 
19 But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; 
20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.”

Secret salvations will become more difficult during the tribulation period. Many believers will be confronted with the decision to take the Mark of the Beast or lose their heads. 

In the meantime, closet Christians shouldn’t be afraid to testify of their faith especially if they live in countries with religious liberties. Jesus died for us publicly for everyone to see. We should be willing to live publicly for Him.

“The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.” 
- Proverbs 29:25

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