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“. . . if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved” (Romans 10:9,10).

CONFESSING OUR FAITH IS A PART OF WHAT JESUS CHRIST REQUIRES FOR OUR SALVATION IN HIM. He said, “Everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32,33).

To “confess” something is to acknowledge it. It means that we openly admit the thing to be true. So if we are believers in Jesus Christ and followers of His teaching, He expects us to confess our faith openly. We would not be His friends at all if we were no more than fair-weather friends, abandoning Him when it might be unpopular, or even dangerous, to be one of His people.

It is entirely appropriate for us to be asked to confess that “Jesus is Lord” (Romans 10:9) before we are baptized. The confession of our faith is no less a prerequisite to the remission of our sins than is faith itself. But don’t forget: the confession which Paul calls “the good confession” (1 Timothy 6:12) is not just a one-time act, checked off the list as nothing more than one of the “steps of salvation.” Our confession prior to our baptism is the beginning of an entire life that will confess Christ from that point onward, in deed as well as word. And we dare not go back on the promise we made when we first began to confess Christ. “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession” (Hebrews 4:14).

Dag Hammarskjöld once said, “Never, for the sake of peace and quiet, deny your own experience or conviction.” The idea is not to make trouble merely to be militant, nor does it mean being obnoxious to other people with an in-your-face kind of aggression. The confession of our faith is simply a matter of being genuine and authentic. I call it “courageous sincerity.” We are not to hide the truth about who we really are. When questioned — or even threatened — we should be able to say what Martin Luther said, “Here I stand; I can do no other. God help me. Amen!”

“Weak persons cannot be sincere” (François de la Rochefoucauld).

Gary Henry — +

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