This applies to the apostle Peter: “Whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven”
No one really “loses his/her salvation” while still on earth, because we are not finally “saved” until we enter the kingdom of God, but I use this word to highlight that Peter died SPIRITUALLY when he denied Jesus. Satan in Eden assured Eve that she would NOT die if she sinned (by disobeying God). Satan lied, because we DO die spiritually when we sin.
Luke 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me
Peter assured Jesus that he himself would never fall away but Jesus responded that he (Peter) would even deny him three times! Jesus also assured him, (and us all), that if we deny him he will deny us before his Father. Can true believers deny Jesus? Yes, and the story about Peter testifies of this. Also true born again christian can fall for temptation and sin in various ways, even if we also have the option to always have victory over our flesh. Jesus means what he says with his words about denying us, and he is no respecter of persons. This should be something for us to think about when it comes to the future Mark of the Beast where true believers must make a stand. The case could be that some believers will choose to save their own earthly lives by denying Jesus, but their souls are truly at stake. Jesus tells us that unless we take up our cross daily and follow him, we are not worthy of him. What does this “take up his cross” mean? If we regularly sin and say that we can never stop sinning, would this be “taking up our cross daily”?
Matt. 10:32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.—38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
Jesus tells his disciples that they will be OFFENDED because of Jesus. This word is translated from the Greek “skandalizó”, which can mean cause to stumble or sin, cause to become indignant, shock, offend or fall away.
Matt. 26:31 Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be OFFENDED because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.*) 32 But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.33 Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended.34 Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.
Mark 14:26 And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.27 And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.28 But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee.29 But Peter said unto him, Although all shall be offended, yet will not I.30 And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice.31 But he spake the more vehemently, If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise. Likewise also said they all.
John. 16:31 Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe?32 Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave ME alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.
So the disciples will be scattered and leave Jesus! Jesus explains for his disciples that this happening is prophesied about and he is referring to this verse:
*) Zakaria 13:7 Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.
The sheep (the believers) will be scattered due to something that offends them and causes them to desert their true shepherd who really cares for them. Jesus tells them that they will be offended the same night and Peter (actually all of the disciples) vehemently denies that he will, meaning; he assures Jesus that he will NOT sin by denying Jesus but will stand by Jesus side all the way. He even says he is ready to DIE for Jesus:
John 13:37 Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake.38 Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.
But Jesus corrects Peter and tells him that he WILL be offended and deny Jesus. Jesus is also clear about that IF someone denies him and/or is ashamed of him, also Jesus will be ashamed of him when it’s time for his return in the future! That is very serious, because if Jesus denies us before his Father, we are truly lost!
Mark 8:34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.—38 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.
Luke 12:8 Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God:9 But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God.
Here is Peter’s denial in all four gospels, and note that the writers focus on different things. They don’t contradict each other with their stories but they complement each other:
Matt. 26:69 Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee.70 But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest.71 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.72 And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man.73 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.74 Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew.75 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.
Mark: 14:66 And as Peter was beneath in the palace, there cometh one of the maids of the high priest:67 And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked upon him, and said, And thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth.68 But he denied, saying, I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest. And he went out into the porch; and the cock crew.69 And a maid saw him again, and began to say to them that stood by, This is one of them.70 And he denied it again. And a little after, they that stood by said again to Peter, Surely thou art one of them: for thou art a Galilaean, and thy speech agreeth thereto.71 But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak.72 And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept.
John 18:15 And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple: that disciple was known unto the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the palace of the high priest.16 But Peter stood at the door without. Then went out that other disciple, which was known unto the high priest, and spake unto her that kept the door, and brought in Peter.17 Then saith the damsel that kept the door unto Peter, Art not thou also one of this man’s disciples? He saith, I am not.18 And the servants and officers stood there, who had made a fire of coals; for it was cold: and they warmed themselves: and Peter stood with them, and warmed himself.19 The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine.20 Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing.21 Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said.22 And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so?23 Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me?24 Now Annas had sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest.25 And Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. They said therefore unto him, Art not thou also one of his disciples? He denied it, and said, I am not.26 One of the servants of the high priest, being his kinsman whose ear Peter cut off, saith, Did not I see thee in the garden with him?27 Peter then denied again: and immediately the cock crew.
Luke 22:54 Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest’s house. And Peter followed afar off.55 And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them.56 But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him.57 And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not.58 And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not.59 And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilaean.60 And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew.61 And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.62 And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.
We know that Peter repented for his sin (or else we wouldn’t be able to read about him the way we do in Acts, or in his own letters in the New Testament), and it looks like Jesus also knew that Peter would both deny him and later on repent. It’s very possible that Peter repented when he burst out into tears. Some believers might repent at once, some might repent after a few years (King David didn’t repent until after a year for his sins), and some believers never repent and die as unrepentant sinners. Jesus said he would pray for Peter, and prayers can have an effect (influence people) even if they don’t run people’s lives. Jesus says that when Peter is converted, he should strengthen his brethren (who also got offended and were scattered). Peter of course doesn’t understand what Jesus is saying because he is so sure of himself that he will never ever be offended and deny Jesus:
Lukas 22:31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.33 And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.34 And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.