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Once you have initiated your Christian journey correctly by accepting Christ and having a private, transformative encounter with Him, the next step is to acknowledge your relationship with Jesus Christ openly. As stated in Matthew 10:32, Jesus said, “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge them before my Father in heaven.” Jesus calls for a public declaration of your faith for your own benefit. This is the pathway to blessings. Many try to follow Jesus without letting others know about it. However, being a covert follower results in not genuinely following at all. When you truly accept Christ, it’s impossible to keep it a secret because “out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34).
The importance of publicly professing Christ is so high that Paul places it as the primary condition for salvation. He says, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved” (Romans 10:9-10). Living a life of professing Christ leads to complete salvation. In fact, it leads to the only genuine form of salvation. When we acknowledge Christ before others here on earth, He recognizes us before the Father in heaven, and the Father grants us the Holy Spirit as the seal of our salvation.
Merely professing Christ once, such as during confirmation, joining a church, or attending a revival meeting, isn’t sufficient. We should continually proclaim our faith in Christ. We shouldn’t feel embarrassed about our Lord and King. We should make it clear to people that we are on His side. Whether at home, in church, at work, or during leisure time, we should make our stance known to others. Of course, we should avoid flaunting our Christianity or holiness. However, we should ensure no one is in doubt about our commitment to Christ. We should show our pride in Him as our Lord and King.
The failure to profess Christ is one of the leading causes of spiritual regression. Christians often find themselves in new environments where their Christian identity is unknown, and they may be tempted to hide it. Yielding to such temptation often leads to spiritual drifting. The more significance you give to Jesus Christ, the more He will bestow upon you. Being publicly known as a follower of Christ, acknowledging Him as your Lord in all aspects, can protect you from numerous temptations.
Indeed, publicly acknowledging your faith in Christ is not merely an act of compliance but also a commitment that cements your relationship with God. Moreover, such public acknowledgment acts as a spiritual anchor, helping to maintain your Christian identity and moral compass even in unfamiliar or challenging circumstances. In the book of Acts, the early believers were known as followers of the ‘Way,’ and their public identity as Christians sometimes led to persecution, but it also distinguished them and brought them into fellowship with other believers (Acts 9:2, ESV).
Yet, our confession of Christ is not merely verbal. Jesus Himself said in Matthew 7:21 (ESV), “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.” This stresses the importance of a life that is consistent with our confession. It underscores that our actions should align with our verbal profession, reflecting a transformed life.
This transformative effect is captured in Galatians 2:20 (ESV), where Paul declares, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” This means that our lifestyle should portray Christ’s teachings and character. We should exemplify the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23, ESV).
Moreover, we need to grasp that our public profession of faith has implications for our relationships with others. In Matthew 5:14-16 (ESV), Jesus said, “You are the light of the world…let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” As followers of Christ, we have a mission to reflect God’s love and truth to those around us. We are called to be witnesses of Christ to the world (Acts 1:8, ESV).
To be a witness for Christ is to live in a manner that testifies to the transformative power of the gospel. In Colossians 3:12-14 (ESV), Paul exhorts believers, “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another…And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” As Christians, we should strive to display these virtues in our interactions with others, further testifying to our faith in Christ.
However, the public profession of faith in Christ is not without challenges. Jesus warned His followers in John 15:18-20 (ESV) that “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you…If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.” Yet, He encourages us not to be discouraged by such opposition, reminding us in John 16:33 (ESV), “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Finally, while it’s crucial to acknowledge our faith publicly, it’s equally important to cultivate our relationship with God privately. Jesus taught in Matthew 6:6 (ESV), “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” This underscores the importance of private devotion, which strengthens our faith and enables us to make a more crediblepublic profession of faith. Private prayer and Bible study deepen our understanding of God’s word and allow the Holy Spirit to work in us, conforming us to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29, ESV).
While the Bible teaches that salvation is not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9, ESV), James reminds us that faith without works is dead (James 2:26, ESV). True faith inevitably produces works—evidence of a transformed life. This can mean acts of service, kindness, and generosity towards others. Paul writes in Ephesians 2:10 (ESV), “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Thus, our faith is authenticated by our works, serving as a public testimony of our faith in Christ.
As Christians, we are part of the body of Christ, the church, which is another critical component of the Christian journey (1 Corinthians 12:27, ESV). We are called not to neglect meeting together, as is the habit of some, but to encourage one another (Hebrews 10:25, ESV). Our public profession of faith leads us to fellowship with other believers, providing opportunities for mutual edification, accountability, service, and spiritual growth.
However, as we journey with Christ, we must remember that we are not exempt from trials and tribulations. We may face various forms of opposition and suffering, but these are not intended to foster growth, endurance, or character per se. Rather, they serve as a demonstration of the inherent flaw in human independence from God’s sovereignty (Jeremiah 10:23, ASV). Suffering is a stark reminder of our frailty and need for dependence on God.
In the midst of suffering, we take comfort in the knowledge that Christ suffered on our behalf and that He is with us in our afflictions (Isaiah 53:4, ASV; Matthew 28:20, ESV). The purpose of suffering is not to harm us, but to redirect us to the centrality of God’s sovereignty, underscoring the importance of total reliance on Him.
In summary, making the right start on your Christian journey involves more than merely accepting Christ; it requires publicly professing your faith, living a transformed life, actively serving others, engaging in fellowship with fellow believers, and enduring trials with a steadfast faith in God’s sovereignty. This journey demands complete dedication and commitment. However, the promise that awaits us is eternal life with our Savior, which far outweighs the struggles we face in this world (2 Corinthians 4:17, ESV). So, let’s courageously and unashamedly profess our faith in Christ and endeavor to live lives worthy of the gospel, making the most of our Christian journey.