All of us have certain parts of our life that are private and public. For example, it is generally best not to divulge information regarding one’s love life to the public or even to strangers. Usually, if any information is shared, it is within the realm of secrecy with those who are trustworthy. However, there are other elements of life in which it is perfectly acceptable to share publicly. One instance can include one’s general interest such as participating in sports or even being a spectator of sporting events.
Most of us utilize a delineation between what should be shared publicly and what should remain a private matter. However, as it relates to one’s relationship with God through Christ, the question that should be answered is whether or not we who are in Christ should remain private about or faith or not. Should Christians relegate themselves to a private relationship with Jesus Christ? The answer to this question can be found Mark chapter 8. The key verses are verses 34-37.
In this passage, Jesus is speaking to His Disciples in which He predicts His own death on the cross. The Apostle Peter then reprimands Jesus in verse 32. However, in verse 33, Jesus rebukes Peter for his reprimand. Notice what Jesus continues to say in verses 35-38:
(NLT) “Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
These 4 verses are not only convicting, but these words spoken by Jesus are meant to challenge every believer not only to follow Christ but to lose their life for the sake of the Gospel and for Jesus. In return, one will gain eternal life and a life that is lived with purpose and abundance according to God’s Will. However, notice what Jesus says in verse 38:
“If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
Jesus makes it clear that if anyone is ashamed of the message of Jesus Christ then Jesus Himself will be ashamed when He goes before God in Heaven. Essentially, this means that if we who are in Christ are not in full allegiance to God both privately and publicly, then God will not be pleased with our life. The point of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is to spread the good news about Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and the ability that such sacrifice provides for humanity to be redeemed.
Also, notice the words that Christ uses when he says, “these adulterous and sinful days” which is meant to suggest that the people within the culture at that time were sinful and adulterous. If you look at our world today, sin has increased and it has become acceptable to many. God is calling every person who claims to be a Christian to follow Him through Christ.
This means being adamant about one’s relationship with Christ and even one’s stance regarding sin. If you look at the life of Jesus, He openly taught the masses in addition to challenging people to come out of their sin and not to return to it. One other example of a public declaration of faith and allegiance unto God occurred in the book of Acts chapter 4. In this chapter, Peter and John are brought before the Sanhedrin Council.
The Sanhedrin Council were a group of 71 members who were responsible for instituting or approving law within the land of Israel. You can think of them as the equivalent of the U.S. Supreme Court. In Acts chapter 4, Peter and John are arrested for preaching the message of Jesus Christ, and they are later brought before the Council for questioning. In verse 2, there were Sadducees and Priests who found Peter and John relaying the message of Christ and they found it to be appalling.
(NLT) “These leaders were very disturbed that Peter and John were teaching the people that through Jesus there is a resurrection of the dead.”
In verses 5-7, Peter and John were then questioned by the Council in which the leaders asked the following question in verse 7, “By what power, or in whose name, have you done this?” Here is the response that Peter and John give in verses 8-12:
(NLT) “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of our people, are we being questioned today because we’ve done a good deed for a crippled man? Do you want to know how he was healed? Let me clearly state to all of you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead.
For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says, ‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”
If you look at these verses, it is clear that Peter is defending the faith and publicly proclaiming both the healing power of Jesus Christ in addition to the fact that salvation only comes through the name of Jesus Christ. This is a great example of what it should look like for those who are in Christ to unashamedly share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Peter and John were persecuted for standing up for Jesus Christ and they were brought before powerful individuals.
We are living in a time in which there are some who claim Christianity that believe it is better to be ‘private about their faith.’ If you look at these two scriptures from the book of Acts and Mark, you can see that privacy was not a policy as it related to declaring the message of Christ. It is true that everyone must make their own choice regarding their eternity and who they will serve, but we as Christians are not called to be silent.
The goal of every Christian should be to spread the Gospel to the lost, and to be examples of Christ in how we live. Doing so privately only excludes those who are in need of a savior. The fact is that we are all in need of a savior, however, if we who are in Christ do not share the Gospel with others then we are essentially depriving those in their sin of the very opportunity that we had.
There are Christians in today’s society who are afraid of the consequences of sharing their testimony of their spiritual conversion. It is as if challenging someone to come out of their sin and to accept Christ is no longer a priority. Rather, the priority has centered around being peaceful and agreeable with those in the world. However, the Apostles and even Jesus Christ were not timid about God and the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
We who are in Christ need to have the same tenacity and the same unflinching resolve as it relates to sharing the Gospel. Part of the reason why so much sin is occurring in our world is because there are Christians who know the truth of God but have not openly shared it with others. We who know the truth and who have been transformed must make a decision to let the world know of the salvation that is available. The call is for every person who is in Christ to stand up for God and make a public declaration of what it is you believe.
If you don’t know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, then you are apart of those who are lost. Jesus Christ died on the cross for you and His blood was shed for your sins. The amazing gift of life that God has given to you is available, but you must choose Christ. Those of us who are in Christ must publicly declare and show forth the truth of God in what we do and what we say. Privacy about one’s relationship with Christ should not be the norm, but instead our lives should be the shining city on a hill that cannot be hidden.