Degrees of Denial
Matthew 10:33, "But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."
This word "deny" can mean a variety of things from as little as "to assert the contrary of" to "to disavow; disown." For example, we can see that it must have been the lesser type of denial which was committed by Peter because God certainly forgave Peter's sin and continued using him.
In Hebrews 6:4-6, the Lord states that there is no repentance from total denial of the Lord (Hebrews 10:29). Therefore, even though Peter denied (asserted he did not know) the Lord, he did not disown or disavow the Lord.
No believer desires to deny our Lord, but failing to provide for spiritual health is the first step in that direction. Remembering this will help motivate us to seek the Lord as we know we should. It takes more than desire; it takes preparation. We have all been taught how to rely on ourselves, but we have to learn anew how to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might (Ephesians 6:10). Just as in the physical realm, muscles have to be exercised to become strong, so we have to exercise ourselves unto Godliness (1 Timothy 4:7).
Many people have been tormented by fear in thinking that they have denied the Lord because of some type of sin in their life. However, God looks on the heart (1 Samuel 16:7) and, regardless of how offensive our actions or words might be, if there is still a place in our hearts where we honor Him, He will not deny us (2 Timothy 2:12-13).
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