Matthew 10:33: ‘whosoever shall deny me’

“But whosoever shall DENY me before men, him will I also DENY before my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:33 KJV)

Some read this verse and think to themselves that if we , as believers, deny Christ with our mouth with others, that when Jesus comes, He will deny a believer from entrance into Heaven by revoking their Salvation.

But wait a minute. what about Peter then? Look at Matthew 26:69-75:

“Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee.

But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest. And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth. And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man. And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee. Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.” (Matthew 26:69-75 KJV)

So what happened to Peter after he denied knowing the Lord three times on that night of great despair? Did Jesus deny Peter when He rose from the dead and suddenly appeared in the upper room? NO. In fact, Peter was fully restored and became a leader in the early Church!

So if Matthew 10:33 and later Matthew 26:69-75 are in conflict in the same book then the belief that Jesus will revoke our Salvation at His return cannot be true. We must remember that the Bible had no chapters – that was added later for our studying benefit. Matthew needs to be read as one continuous work to understand passages in proper context.

Let’s look at the Greek in which this was penned:

Matthew 10:33, word ‘DENY’:  In the Greek is ‘arneomai‘ and means ‘disavow, reject, abnegate:—deny, refuse. ‘ . It can also mean ‘to contradict’.

In Matthew 26, Peter was not rejecting Christ in unbelief. He was telling the people that he did not know Jesus out of fear of what they would do to him. It may have been wrong for Peter to do so, but it was not an act from unbelief in Christ. It was out of fear.

God always looks at our hearts and knows our true beliefs. Failing to acknowledge Christ to every person you meet will not negate your Salvation. It does grieve God as we see that Jesus had prayed for Peter beforehand, knowing how badly it would affect Peter’s faith in his own belief.

Matthew 10:6 shows the proper context for all of Matthew 10 and it is all about unbelievers. The Disciples were being sent out to reach the lost people in Israel who believed in their good works and Law of Moses obeying to save them.

“But go rather to the LOST SHEEP of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 10:6 KJV)

It is these unbelievers that Matthew 10:33 is speaking about. Matthew 10:33 is a warning to those who reject the Gospel of Salvation through the Messiah, Jesus The Christ.

But whosoever shall DENY me before men, him will I also DENY before my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:33 KJV)

If someone hears the Gospel and denies Christ as the Messiah and savior, they, as unbelievers, do not have thier sins forgiven and as such will be denied at Christ’s coming.