Can Christians Deny Christ Before Others?

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Jesus warned us that if we deny Him then He will deny us before the Father, so can believers actually deny Jesus Christ?

Fear of Man

Jesus warned us that if we deny Him before others then He will deny us before the Father, so can believers actually deny Jesus Christ? If we’re ashamed of the Gospel, it means we’re ashamed of Jesus Christ. We know from Scripture that many believed in Him but they were afraid to confess it publically. The Apostle John said that it was “Yet for fear of the Jews no one spoke openly of him” (John 7:13). Are we like that? Are we afraid to speak of Him “openly?” Sometimes, yes, but hopefully not all the time. It’s such a serious sin to deny Jesus before others, being ashamed of our faith, that many will profess faith in Him, but Jesus Christ will tell them plainly, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness” (Matt 7:23). The warning from Jesus is “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matt 7:21). To profess faith in Christ is to necessarily have works demonstrating we are doing “the will of the Father.” If we have no works, that’s bad news and you can read for yourself just how serious this sin is (Matt 25:41-46).

Do We Deny Christ?

Many believed in the Lord Jesus Christ while He was on earth, but most were afraid to proclaim this publically for fear of being put out of the synagogue. The Apostle John wrote that “(His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue)” (John 9:22). They worried more about what man thought than what God thought, therefore Jesus sternly warns all who profess faith privately but suppress it publically by telling us all that “whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven” (Matt 10:33).

Christ Denying Others

Of course, the opposite must be true too as Jesus said that “everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven” (Matt 10:32). For Christ to deny someone before the Father means they are ashamed of the Gospel and have denied Christ by their silence. If people are denying Jesus Christ before others by never bringing up the Gospel, then Jesus will deny knowing them before the Father. They worry more about what people will think than what is pleasing to God. That’s why the fear of man is a huge stumbling block to our faith (Prov 29:25), and that it’s a very serious issue to live in such duplicity (Matt 7:21-23).

The Failure to Confess Christ

If we fail to ever profess our faith in Jesus Christ, then we’ve denied Him. To fail to speak up for the Gospel is to fail God by our silence. A sin of omission is refusing to partake in the Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20; Acts 1:8) and works that God has ordained for us to walk in (Eph 2:10). That’s serious to be sure, but how serious is it? If someone came up to you and asked about your faith in Christ, what would you say? Better still, do you ever bring up the subject before your family, friends, co-workers and other acquaintances? If not, isn’t that the same as denying Jesus Christ before others?  Who do we fear more; men or God?

Ashamed of the Gospel

If there was anyone in human history that was not ashamed of the Gospel, it was the Apostle Paul. He insisted that “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Rom 1:16). To be ashamed of the only Name that can save (Acts 16:30-31) means we may not be saved because “whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be” (Mark 8:38). We must count the cost of our silence, and besides, “what can a man give in return for his soul” (Mark 8:37)? Isn’t it worth being scorned, ridiculed and persecuted for? Certainly it is, but the cost of silence is eternal (Rev 20:12-15).

The Sin of Silence

The Apostles were certainly not silent. In fact, they were commanded to never preach about Jesus Christ again, but they couldn’t keep quiet and said “we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). The Apostle Paul was bold as a lion. Why? He said that “if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel” (1 Cor 9:16)! Is that how we are? I pray it is so. Even the timid pastor Timothy might have been a bit hesitant to share Jesus Christ. This might explain why Paul told Timothy to “not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God” (2 Tim 1:8).


I pray you’ve already trusted in Christ and discovered what God’s will is for your life; what He has called you to do (Matt 25:35-36; 28:18-20), and that means we can never be silent about Jesus Christ. We don’t want to deny Him but also, we don’t want to deny people the only way that they might be saved (Acts 4:12). There is what we call the Great Commission, but for 98% of Christians, it’s more like the “great omission” since only 2% of evangelicals shared their faith with others. And by the way, and most importantly, if you have still not yet trusted in Jesus Christ, God will turn you away from entering into the Kingdom (Matt 7:21-23), therefore I plead with you today…in fact, right now, to repent of your sins and place your trust in Jesus Christ. A failure to do so will incur God’s judgment after death (Heb 9:27), or at Christ’s appearance (Rev 20:12-15), whichever may come first.

Here is some related reading for you: Can Christians Be Ashamed of the Gospel?

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

How to turn your sermon into clips

Share the truth

Previous post:

Next post: