“Boldness” is having confidence without any fear or hesitation. Boldness is necessary to convey our beliefs without regard to the opinion of the world. A deep and well-founded assurance instills within us strength, confidence, and a matured ability to live out our beliefs. God bestows boldness in our testimonial witness for the validity and power of the word of God in salvation and the effectual transformation He has performed in our lives. As we attain greater sanctification through Him, we gain more evidentiary support to supplement our own testimony.
When Peter was fighting with compromise outside of the temple with the servants and the officers in John 18:18, notice how he stood with the world warming himself with its “fire of coal” because it was cold. He lacked the necessary boldness to stand strong for Christ. In his coldness, we sought warmness with the world.
An apparent boldness deficiency exists within the church at every age level. Many in the congregation today are even surprised to hear the preacher who proclaims the Word of God with excitement and conviction without any dependence upon a word-for-word outline. A lack of boldness results from a lack of regular prayer, Bible study/meditation, or spiritual direction and is always precipitated by the attempt to live worldly and a desire to be accepted by its standards. Consequently, a season of spiritual coldness is permitted to grow and infect us. We become afraid to make bold spiritual assertions or take biblical stances which are controversial in the world because our life is being lived in a contemporary and convenient fashion. Here are six ways boldness can prevent coldness in the life of every believer:
1. Confidence in Christ
By placing great confidence in Jesus Christ as our Savior and our guide for every aspect of our lives, we gain boldness because we prove him over and over concerning His faithfulness. David, in Psalm 119:90, knew that God’s faithfulness was enduring throughout the ages. He wrote, “your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures.” Yes, great confidence can be given to the Creator of the earth and mankind as this testimony is manifested every season and each day. Confidence in our own ability and wisdom is ineffectual for kingdom living as it’s a form of practical atheism by living as if God’s power and authority are non-existent.
Paul, in Ephesians 3:10, explained, “to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known to the church the manifold wisdom of God.” In verses 11-12, he related that “the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord in whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.” Indeed, He must be our all, and we must live accordingly. He saved us from the dominion of sin in our past, He guides and strengthens us today, and then at our departure, we will fully realize our salvation in a glorified body. All of it was and will be through Christ.
2. Assurance in Judgment
The world lives with the “hope I make it mentality.” This way of thinking lacks any boldness or confidence because it is void of a foundation or any spiritual backing. The looseness of our hopes wax and wane with the day’s circumstances. Any sunshine or rain which befalls man with this hope is regarded as a possible sign of a displeased god as evidenced in the Old Testament. We are blessed to live a comfortable life in America. Unfortunately, however, many mistake God’s blessings upon our nation to be a bestowment of universal salvation for the citizenry. When we have confidence in the cross, we have boldness for the grave.
In 1 John 4:17, the apostle proclaimed, “herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.” This assurance bestowed upon us by our Savior is wonderful to live by, but even greater that He gives us this boldness in Him to die by.
3. To Approach
The Old Testament believer depended on the high priest to present a sacrifice as an atonement for his or her sins. Only the high priest had access to the holy of holies. This atonement had to be repeated yearly. Jesus Christ is our high priest, for through Him we have access to the Heavenly Father. By pleading the blood of Christ, we have access to the mercy seat in heaven.
In Hebrews 10:19, we are told, “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus.” Further, John, in his epistle, reminded the people, “these things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God.” As a result, “this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us.” Access to the throne is a wonderful blessing, but we also have a God who will listen and act upon our petitions in accordance with His will.
4. To Serve
The leaders of the church are well-served to understand, “for they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus” as written in 1 Timothy 3:13. The faithful worker and minister for the kingdom and the cross is blessed with the opportunity to serve the Lord in any capacity. Great confidence and liberty are realized when a ministerial office is faithfully and spiritually executed by one who is qualified and dedicated.
John Calvin wrote, “for there is nothing that tends so much to produce liberty as a good conscience and a life free from crime and reproach; as, on the contrary, timidity must be the lot of those who have a bad conscience.” This liberty is important as he explained, “that they may serve Christ with greater boldness; as, on the other hand, they who have acted basely in the discharge of their office may be said to have their mouth shut and their hands tied, and are unfit for doing good; because no reliance – – no authority is given to them.” Boldness results in great liberty in service. In contrast, a lack of disciplined and persevered service is a fertile ground for spiritual complacency and coldness.
5. Christ Is Magnified
When we live with the boldness of the Holy Spirit, Christ is magnified in my life. A magnifying glass does not make the object larger in reality. The viewer merely sees the object as being enlarged through the lens with the ability to perceive the intricacies of the object not readily ascertained by the naked eye. Accordingly, Christ cannot be made any larger or stronger by our magnifying Him. We and those around us, however, can see His power and strength in His great work in our lives when we magnify Him.
Paul in Philippians 1:20 testified, “according to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.” Paul’s boldness was founded on his sincere desire that both the way he lived and the means of his death would testify to the greatness of his Savior. The emboldened believer lives in a manner exhibiting his or her spiritual transformation through salvation, reflecting the usage of all ministerial gifts by the Holy Spirit. This dedicated life is grounded in thanksgiving, knowing my capacity and my purpose are bestowed from the Almighty.
6. My Witness
In Acts 4:13, the people saw something in “the boldness of Peter and John.” They knew neither man was educated, but it was because of their boldness that “they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” A convicting question to ourselves would be whether the world sees “any Jesus” in us other than our religious exhibition of church attendance. The critics knew something was behind the power of these disciples because, in their eyes, they were not smart enough to fake this manifestation.
The prayer of the apostles was that the “Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word.” The Lord was faithful as “they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.” When we have a desire to live a separate life from the world, everyone around us sees us in a different light. The Holy Spirit can do mighty works through the believer who both knows and lives out the Word of God. A dedication and a desire for boldness not only strengthens our witness to the world, but also protects us from growing cold and complacent.