I know, it makes me cringe too… but, then again, that is the point. I intentionally do the same thing in titling some of the sections and chapters in Forged Hope. First, I want you to cringe at hearing the words in your mind. Then, after having considered their actual practice, we should cringe 100 times worse.
Recent events have made me consider the idea of being a “Closet Christian” at a level I hadn’t before. Can you have a relationship with Christ and hide it from your spouse? Or is it OK?
As we seek to answer this question, keep in mind the specific context, i.e., “Hide it from your spouse.” I am not going to make the case that every Christian should get a T-shirt with, “I’m a Christian…Deal With It!” written on it and wear it everywhere.
“But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father in heaven.” Matthew 10:33
“But whoever denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God.” Luke 12:9
“If anyone is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” Luke 9:26
“Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” Mark 8:38
Now, as I said, it is not showing “shame” to refrain from going around hitting people in the head with your Bible and saying, “Look at me, I’m a follower of Christ.” But why would you hide it from your spouse?
“…if we endure, we will also reign with Him; if we deny Him, He will also deny us.” 2 Timothy 2:12
“…a man… will be united to his wife, and the two will become one… Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” Mark 10:7-9
These words from Mark 10 are Christ’s words and on topic. I think it’s fair to say, if you are “one,” you must have the same information.
1 Peter 3 teaches about the relationship between husband and wife. Allow me to pull together some of these instructions. In speaking to wives, Peter instructs them to behave in such a way so that if their husbands “…refuse to believe the word, they will be won over without words by the behavior of their wives when they see your pure and reverent demeanor.” And to let your husband see your beauty through “…the inner disposition of your heart, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in God’s sight. For this is how the holy women of the past adorned themselves. They put their hope in God…” as Sarah, the wife of Abraham, did. “And you are her children if you do what is right and refuse to give way to fear.”
So, this points to another reason someone might not tell their spouse of the commitment they have made to follow Christ, especially if they understand that commitment is to prioritize that relationship above all others. A spouse might “fear” their unconverted spouse’s reaction to this “New Life” announcement.
Then, Peter instructs, “Husbands, in the same way, treat your wives with consideration…with honor as fellow heirs of the gracious gift of (eternal) life.”
Then, he goes on to instruct the fellowship of believers more generally; however, the rules for “spiritual siblings” obviously apply to Husband and Wife. So, Peter says, “Finally, all of you, be like-minded and sympathetic, love as brothers (siblings), be tenderhearted and humble.” “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech.” I don’t think I have to make the case to any honest reader that omission of Truth is “deceitful.”
Peter ends by returning to “fear.” “…even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. ‘Do not fear what they fear; do not be shaken’…in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give a defense to everyone who asks you the reason for the hope (which is Christ) that is in you…For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.”
Have we answered the question? Can we “run around” with Christ? Can we have a “closet relationship” with Christ? Or is a person who has taken a vow to Christ required to tell their spouse?
Here’s what I get out of our study and the many Instructions in the Manual we didn’t reference:
- As those who Claim the Name, we are instructed to “behave” with our spouse in a way that would “win (them) over (to Christ) without words.”
- The Manual also says what that is to look like, that we are neither to be “ashamed” of our commitment to Christ or to “fear” how others (especially our spouse) might react to that commitment.
- Finally, we are instructed to act as “co-heirs,” “siblings” with each other and Christ, to be “humble and like-minded,” and to “keep our lips from deceitful speech.”
This is not the first time I have run into someone keeping their relationship with Christ from their spouse, and it seems it will not be the last. It is also not the first time that confronting this has resulted in an immediate end to communication. So, I expect that this post will not be universally embraced. If, however, it will cause someone having a secret relationship with Christ to re-consider their position and “turn around” to a proper stand with Christ, then it serves its purpose.
© 02/28/2022 Scott A Caughel