Q. I heard of a Vietnamese man who has been forced to recant his new found faith in Christ; he has signed a document saying he recants, but will also be required to sacrifice to his ancestors in order to publicly prove he has recanted. Matthew 10: 33 says that if we deny Christ before men he will deny us before the father. Would you please comment on this terrible situation, and also what relationship Matt 10:33 has to OSAS, in your opinion.
A. God knows the motives of our heart. He also knows that fear can cause us to do things we wouldn’t otherwise do. The example of Peter’s denial is a good one (Matt. 26:69-75). Having denied the Lord 3 times in a single night, even after the Lord warned him about it, Peter was fully restored and became a leader in the early Church.
Under extreme duress, we can be forced to say or do just about anything. But no one can ever force us to change what we believe in our heart, and the Lord knew Peter’s heart was true. If that Vietnamese man has truly trusted the Lord for his salvation, then his tormentors have achieved a hollow victory at best, and he will be there when the Lord takes vengeance on them.
As for Matt. 10:33, it obviously applies to non-believers whose hearts are hardened against the Lord.