The Ten Most Important Words You Will Ever Say
Confession is connected to belief (Acts 8:37). In fact,. confession is simply saying out loud what one believes in the heart. Confession is a test of faith. "Unless Christ had provided such tests as confession and obedience we could not know whether ours was really a belief of the heart. That our faith moves us to confession is to us an assurance of salvation!"
The kind of commitment needed is illustrated by the story of a great baseball pitcher. When Bob Feller was nine years old, his teacher asked him to write an essay about an oak tree. Here are the ideas that he put in his theme:
Confession is connected to repentance (Romans--10: 9-10). When one confesses Christ as "Lord," he is submitting his will to his new Master's. It is sometimes argued that any person could stand and repeat, "I believe Jesus to be the Son of the living God." This is true, but the confession is not merely a repetition of outward form. Its value is in what this declaration does in the life of the confessor. As Cervantes would say, "The proof of the pudding is in the eating." The proof of the confession is in the repenting.
Confession is connected to baptism (Acts 8:37-38). Paul uses the interesting phrase your professed subjection" in 2 Corinthians 9:13. This literally means, the obedience of your confession; n that is, the obedience which results from your Christian confession. A part of the obedience is being baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; 1 Peter 3:21). Jesus said, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved" (Mark 16:16). It follows that confession must follow faith and precede baptism, for how could one confess something that he did not believe, and how could he give the oath of allegiance to Christ if he had not turned from the world (repented)?
When Philip responded to the eunuch, "If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest," he was indicating that belief (and a willingness to confess it) was required in order to be scripturally baptized. If the treasurer had been unwilling to acknowledge Christ, then Philip would not have stopped the chariot to im-merse him.
It is sometimes argued that the three thousand on Pentecost would not have had time to have made such a confession. (The same argument is made concerning not having time to immerse three thousand.) Perhaps those who argue this will explain how long it would have taken the 3,000 to relate their "experiences" or to have been voted into the church (neither of which is ever given as command or example in the New Testament). The truth is that Peter could have asked the 3,000 to repeat after me: "I believe ... that Jesus Christ ... is the Son of God." The response could have come simultaneously from 3,000 tongues in as little time as it could have been asked and answered by a single person.
Confession is connected to Christian living. Unlike baptism, confession is a step of salvation that must be repeated many times. In fact, one must continually confess Christ as opportuni-ties present themselves, As Matthew Henry put it, "He must own Christianity in the face of all the allurements and afflictions of this world, standing by Jesus in all weathers." The People's New Testament but it more bluntly` "The whole Christian life is, a confession."
Peter is an example: His noble confession, upon which Jesus built His church, was not a new claim. Earlier, when the multi-rude deserted Jesus in Capemaum, Peter had confessed, "And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God" (John 6:69). Peter confessed Christ again before the Jews on Pentecost: "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36). Peter and John boldly owned Christ again when they stood before the Jewish rulers, elders, scribes, including Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest (Acts 4:10-13).
Confession is not limited to the lips; it includes the life. Our actions verify the veracity of our vocalizations. In fact, unless our lives reflect our confession, we forfeit our salvation. Jesus said, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity" (Matthew 7:21-23). John added, "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him" (1 John 2:4). A verbal acknowledgment of Christ is not enough if the life is a denial, for then it shows that the acknowledgment was a lie. The two must correspond .