What is the Good Confession?
Our English word confess comes from two words: con which means with or together, and fess which means to speak. Confession is speaking the same thing; agreeing with; admitting. A criminal confesses by saying the same things eyewitnesses and policemen say. A sinner who confesses agrees with God’s evaluation of him – that he is a sinner. A sinner who confesses also agrees with God’s evaluation of Jesus – that He is the Christ, the Son of God.
The Father Himself confesses Jesus. “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” – Mt.3:17. When Jesus asks His disciples to recount people’s different views of Him, their answers reveal that most people do not know who He is. Then Peter confesses the truth with the words: “…“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” – Matthew 16:16. Peter says the same thing about Jesus that God the Father said (verse 17). This is true confession.
Is confession really necessary? Consider what Jesus says: “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven” –Matthew 10:32-33.
In this context (Matthew 10), the Lord’s disciples learn that they will be opposed and persecuted. It would be easier to serve Jesus as secret disciples. In spite of the danger, Jesus requires them (and us) to confess Him. Remember what He went through to save us. This passage shows that confessing Christ requires –
- Humility. When priests and Levites asked John who he was, “He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, ‘I am not the Christ’” – John 1:20. If our confession does not lower ourselves and elevate our Lord in our hearts, then we have not truly confessed Him.
- Courage. After Jesus healed the blind man, the Jewish authorities asked his parents how their son received his sight. They remained silent, “because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had agreed already that if anyone confessed that He was Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue” – John 9:22. Their son, on the other hand, was not so easily intimidated. He spoke up courageously for the Lord. How could he not? Jesus gave him his sight.
In order to be saved, what must we confess? Paul said, “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” – Romans 10:9-10. This passage explains confession –
- The way is with the mouth. As the Lord was being tried by the Jewish courts, Peter was warming himself by the enemy’s fire. Three times he denied even knowing Jesus. He later repented and boldly preached everywhere, “He is Lord of all” (Acts 10:36).
- The who is the Lord Jesus. He is Lord; He tolerates no rivals. He is the only Way to the Father (John 14:6).
- The why is that confession is necessary for salvation. The Lord who died for us certainly deserves open acknowledgement from us.
This confession is good. “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. 13 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 Timothy 6:12-13. Paul apparently refers to the confession that Timothy made at his baptism. The Lord would expect him to maintain this “good” confession as he fought the “good” fight of faith (verse 12).
This confession is “good” because it –
- exalts Jesus, our Savior and Lord.
- is one of the conditions by which Jesus can save us from our sins.
- follows the example of Jesus Who confessed before Pilate. “And the governor asked Him, saying, ‘Are You the King of the Jews?’ So Jesus said to him, ‘It is as you say’” – Matthew 27:11. Jesus confessed Himself. Had He not done this for us, we would have been forever lost in sin. It is a great blessing to follow His noble and loving example.
- Rick Duggin
Click HERE to read about the role of baptism in God's plan of salvation.