WHAT IS CONFESSION?

Wayne S. Walker

      Question:  “Is confession something that we do once and then sit
down or is it something that we do throughout our daily life to many
people?”

     In Matthew 10.32-33 Jesus said, “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.”  This passage makes it abundantly clear that to go to
heaven we must confess Jesus before men.  The question asks if this is a
one-time thing or a continual thing.

     There is a confession which is to be made by the penitent believer
before he or she can be baptized into Christ for the remission of sins.
it is to be made with the mouth, or orally, if at all possible.  We have
the example of the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8.36-37, where we read, “Now
as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said,
‘See, here is water.  What hinders me from being baptized?’  Then Philip
said, ‘If you believe with all your heart, you may.’  And he answered and
said, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.'”  Note that the
Ethiopian did NOT confess that he was a sinner, or that God had already
forgiven him for Christ’s sake, but he confessed his faith in Jesus as
the Son of God.

     This confession is made “unto salvation,” which means that it is a
term or condition of pardon for the one who is outside of Christ and
wants to be saved.  Paul wrote in Romans 10.9-10, “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 to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to
salvation.”  So there is a sense in which this particular confession is a
one-time act.  Once a person has repented of his past sins, he does not
need to keep repenting of those same sins.  Once he has been scripturally
baptized, he does not need to be baptized again.  And if he has been
saved, he does not need to make a “confession to salvation.”

     However, there is also a sense in which we should continue our
confession as a part of our lives as Christians.  While believing in
Christ is a condition of forgiveness, we need to continue believing and
even growing in our belief after we hve been saved.  And while we do not
need to keep on repenting of the sins that were forgiven in our baptism,
we still need to repent of any sins committed after we have become
Christians.  And so it is with our confession.  Hebrews 10.23 says, “Let
us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who
promised is faithful.”  So, yes, there is a confession that we make once
unto salvation.  However, we do not just make it, then sit down, and do
nothing else.  We must hold fast that confession which we have made by
continuing to make it throughout our daily lives to many people.

     “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 Timothy 6.11-12).

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