The New Testament speaks of two forms of denial, one bad, the other good. Denial in the bad sense has to do with openly disowning or rejecting God. People deny God by declaring publicly that they do not belong to him (Matt 10:33; 26:70-72; Acts 3:13-14; 2 Peter 2:1; 1 John 2:22-23; Jude 4; cf. Rev 2:13; 3:8). Wrong behaviour, even without words, can be a denial of the Christian faith (1 Tim 5:8; Titus 1:16). Some may deny Christ in a moment of weakness and, after genuine repentance, be forgiven (Luke 22:31- 34; John 21:15-17).

But those who reject God will be rejected by him (2 Tim 2:10-13; see APOSTACY). Denial in the good sense has to do with the rejection of selfishness. Believers ‘deny self’ for the sake of Christ by allowing their lives to be ruled by Christ instead of by themselves. They are controlled by Christ’s will, not by their own selfish desires. They promise to be obedient to Christ always, even if it should lead to death (Matt 16:24-26). Jesus was the supreme example of self-denial, and in his case self-denial led eventually to death (Phil 2:5-8). Believers, being united with Christ, deny themselves by giving up worldly attitudes and desires, and living disciplined, godly lives (2 Cor 4:2; Gal 2:20; 5:24; Col 3:5; Titus 2:12; see OBEDIENCE; SELFDISCIPLINE).

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