In our last article, we noted the
importance of repentance in God’s plan of salvation. Before one can
become a Christian, he must have a change of mind and action in his
life, vowing to serve God throughout his life upon this earth. Based
upon this repentance, he must then continue to do those things commanded
in order to have his sins forgiven and become a Christian. Namely,
confess Jesus Christ and be baptized. In this article we will address
the need for confession and just exactly what it is.
Confession in the New Testament is from a
Greek word that literally means, "to speak the same thing."
Thayer says of this word it means, "...to concede (not to deny)
...to profess, to declare openly, to profess oneself the worshipper of
one....to praise..." W.E.Vine says that it means "...a) to
express, declare, admit... (Jn.1:20), b)to confess by way of admitting
oneself guilty of what one is accused of... (1 Jn. 1:9) c)to declare
openly, by way of speaking out (Matt. 10:32)" Thus it can mean to
acknowledge something as true, admit to sin in your life, or to declare
openly both by word and action that you believe in something, primarily
Rom. 10:8-10 points to the fact that one
needs to confess toward salvation. Paul there said, "But what
does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’
(that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with
your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised
Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes
unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto
salvation." This passage points to the fact that both belief
(see previous articles) and confession must take place BEFORE one is
saved. Note for instance the last phrase of verse 10,
"...confession is made UNTO salvation." The word unto is a
Greek preposition meaning "into, unto, toward, for..."
The question is then asked, what is it
that one must confess unto salvation? Is it an acknowledgement of sin?
Or is it, an acknowledgement of Jesus Christ? It is my understanding
that it is the latter. While one must acknowledge he is a sinner in
order to be saved, that is covered under the idea of true repentance
(see last article). Confession unto salvation is professing one’s
belief in Who Jesus Christ is. Rom.10:9 states that we are to confess
with our mouths the Lord Jesus Christ. 1 John 5:15 says, "Whoever
confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in
God." This points to the need to declare Jesus throughout our lives
as Christians, which points to the fact that the understanding must be
there when one becomes a Christian. We have an example of this
confession in Acts 8:37, where Philip in answering the Eunuch’s
request to be baptized. Philip told him, " ‘if you believe
with all your heart, you may.’ And he (the Eunuch) answered and said,
"I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God". We see
the Eunuch confessed that Jesus is the Christ. In addition to this,
consider the conversion of Acts 19 where Paul at Ephesus found some
disciples of John the Baptist and said to them, "Did you receive
the Holy Spirit when you believed?" These men had not even
heard of this to which Paul replied, "John indeed baptized with
a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe
on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus." We
then note, "When they heard this, they were baptized in the name
of the Lord Jesus." (vs. 1-5) The point here is that because
their previous belief and baptism were without an understanding and
acknowledgement of Jesus Christ, it was not valid.
Paul wrote to Timothy, "Fight the
good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also
called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many
witnesses. I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things,
and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius
Pilate,..." (1 Tim.6:12-13) What the good confession Jesus made
before Pilate? John 18 records Pilate asking Jesus, "Are you a
king then?" Jesus answered, "You say rightly that I am a king.
For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the
world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the
truth hears My voice." (18:34-37). This is the good confession
Paul spoke of and it accords with the confession we must make unto
Heb 3:1 says, "Therefore, holy
brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and
High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus," thus pointing to the
need to confess Christ Jesus. Thus we can see that confession is needed
prior to one’s salvation.
This demands that he have a clear
understanding about WHO Jesus is. They must confess that He is God, that
He came to this earth, born of a virgin, to die for our sins and that He
did that. They must also confess that on the first day of the week, He
arose from the dead and still lives today, reigning upon His throne in
heaven at the right hand of God, even right now and will remain there
until the end of this earth. In addition to this they must understand
that it is only through Him that salvation is possible.
And finally, once one becomes a
Christian, he must continue to make this confession. Heb 4:14, says, "Seeing
then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the
heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession."
It points to the fact that this confession is to be a way of life. In
Matt. 10:32-33, Jesus said, "Therefore, whoever confesses Me
before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.
Whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who
is in heaven." An examination of this text would indicate that
while it might include verbally confessing Him unto salvation, it also
describes the way a believer in Him must live. To EVER deny Jesus Christ
can lead to condemnation. Thus we can see that we should continue to
hold on to our acknowledgement of Jesus Christ.
What about you? Do you believe that Jesus
Christ is the Son of God? Are you willing to confess that unto salvation
and then continue to confess Him both in word and action throughout your
life? Let me encourage you to do just that. Our next article will
examine the importance of baptism and baptism.
Would you like to be a part of a church
that adheres to these principles. We invite you to come check us out.