Gary L. Hutchens
When you talk about making a confession, at the point of a person becoming a Christian, almost invariably people think of confessing sin. But I cannot think of a single place in the New Testament where a person was instructed to make a specific confession of sin as part of the plan of salvation.
John wrote of the need to “confess our sins” in order to be forgiven (1 Jn. 1:9). But he was speaking in that text of Christians who have sinned. He was not speaking of a person who has not yet become a Christian, who has not yet been forgiven of his sins through the waters of baptism, who has not yet been “baptized into Christ” (Rom. 6:3; Gal. 3:27).
When a person comes to realize that he is a sinner in need of forgiveness and salvation, he must repent of his sins and surrender to Christ in baptism (Mk. 16:15-16). At that point he will be cleansed of the guilt of his sins by the blood that Christ shed on the cross (Acts 2:38; 22:16). That entire action of repenting and being baptized is, in itself, an emphatic, open confession of his realization that he is a sinner in need of forgiveness.
There is, however, a specific verbal confession that is instructed of a person who is ready to become a Christian. It is a confession of faith in Christ as God’s Son and our Lord and Savior. Jesus stated that His confessing us before God in Heaven is contingent upon our confessing Him before men here in this world (Matt. 10:32-33). It is a confession that is distinctly instructed and “is made unto salvation” (Rom. 10:10). Why is it important to specifically confess our faith in Christ?
First, it is important because, as already noted, the scriptures teach us to make such a confession. God wants us to openly own His Son as our Savior and Lord. God wants us to openly state our faith in Christ.
Second, it is important for us to make that commitment. Christianity is a life of commitment, and we need to understand that as we contemplate becoming a Christian. In becoming a Christian we are taking up a new lifestyle centered in Christ. We need to be committed to that prospect.
Third, it is important for the world that we openly confess our faith in Christ. When Christ came into this world, the Jews had to accept Him as the Christ, the Messiah. That was a challenge for them; they were looking for a different kind of Savior, one Who would deliver them from the military domination of Rome and reestablish the glory of David’s throne. They had to come to truly believe in Christ.
The gentiles, on the other hand, worshipped all kinds of idols. They had to come to believe in the one, true God and accept His Son as their Savior. So, to confess faith in Christ was a big deal! While we live in a nation wherein most people believe in Christ, a huge percentage of the world’s population does not. It’s still a big deal for us to confess our faith in Christ. He is man’s only Savior (Acts 4:12). There is no way to Heaven except through Him (Jn. 14:6). The world needs to understand that truth.
Thus, our confession of faith in Christ is powerful! Let us never be ashamed or embarrassed to make that confession…
Gary L. Hutchens