Augustine tells a great story in the Confessions that really moved me. The story came to him from his friend Simplicius, about Simplicius’ friend Victorinus, who was a rhetorician like they both were, and a pagan. But he’d become convinced of Christianity. He was unwilling to go to church, however, because he was worried about what his friends and business associates would think of him. Simplicius would say, “I will believe it when I see you at church,” and Victorinus would respond, “Is it the four walls that make a Christian, then?”
But Victorinus read Jesus saying that He would not confess his name before His angels in heaven if he were ashamed to confess Jesus before men on earth. So Victorinus realized his error, and suddenly, one day, to Simplicius’ surprise, said, “Let us go to church. I want to be made a Christian.” So they went. Victorinus was catechized and instructed in the faith, and the time came for him to take his vows. Normally vows were taken on a raised platform in front of the congregation, but for people who would be embarrassed by this, the priests would permit it to be done in private, and that was offered to Victorinus. Victorinus said, “All these years I have not been ashamed to speak my own vain words in front of crowds. Should I now be ashamed to speak His name in front of His humble congregation?” So he took the vows publicly. And when he did so, a murmur went through the congregation, for he was famous, and scarcely a person in the congregation was not whispering to his neighbor, “Victorinus! Victorinus!”
What a wonderful story of the humbling power of the gospel, and the sincere honesty of confession of faith contrasted with the empty fame of this world.