Why We NEED to Confess Christ (And Why Confession is Not Enough)
The Holy Spirit makes it rather clear; if we want salvation from our sins, then we HAVE to confess Christ. (Romans 10:9-10) It’s not optional. As we recognize that we have made the Devil lord over our lives by subjecting ourselves to the enslavement of sin (Romans 6:16), we cry out to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, pleading unto Him to save us from the eternal and spiritual death that is ours unless we can cast aside the sin that plagues our life, and our destiny. (Ezekiel 18:4)
Just as the Israelites in Egypt cried out to God for mercy and salvation from their oppressive Egyptian overlords (Exodus 2:23), so we cry out to our only God and Savior for mercy and salvation that is only found in Christ (Acts 2:37–“What shall we do?”. This confession, that Jesus is the “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt 16:16), is the very confession upon which Christ builds His church (Matt 16:18). For you cannot be built into the church, added to the body, without making that “good confession” that Christ is the son of God. (I Corinthians 12:13 (Baptized into Body) + Acts 8:36-37 (but first must confess))
We cry out unto God in this desperation because we have finally been able to see the truth – that we are lost in sin, and the even greater truth – it is only Jesus who can set us free from sin and death. (Jn 8:24 + Acts 13:38-39) To deny this truth is to deny our soul the benefit of living in eternal truth, eternal light, eternal peace… by denying us the glorious opportunity to live with the God who created us. To deny this truth is to condemn ourselves to the fate of sin… the fate of all sinners who reject the truth, reject the Christ, reject His gospel… hell. (II Thessalonians 1:7-9)
And so it is for truth, for salvation, to be added unto the church; that the lost sinner makes this confession of hope, this confession of peace, this confession of salvation, this confession of mercy, this confession of life – “Jesus is the Christ the Son of the Living God”!!! It is a confession made in boldness, not timidity. It is a confession made of free-will, not of force. It is a confession made of faith, and hope, and love… a confession of anything less… is simply not a gospel confession. It is this confession that will forever remain an anchor of hope for our journey of faith in Christ Jesus. (Heb. 10:23) A landmark of remembrance, of the place in our life in which we found our Savior Jesus Christ, and cried out to Him for redemption.(Acts 22:16)
But while the confession is vital, it is not everything. It is merely a part, not the whole. It is not the whole of our salvation, but only a part of it. An important part. A vital part. An irreplaceable part. A necessary part. But a “part” nonetheless. Our confession of Christ is not the whole of truth, but only a part of the saving truth of gospel. (Rom. 1:16) We cannot be added to the church WITHOUT our good confession, and yet, it is not our confession of Christ as Lord that adds us to the church. (Acts 2:41 = baptism adds)
While our confession of Christ is a natural extension of our belief in Jesus as the Christ, it is not what takes our sins away.( Acts 2:38; 22:16 = baptism) While it is an admirable statement of our faith in Christ Jesus, a confession in and of itself is not repentance from sin – which is necessary unto our salvation. (Luke 24:46; Acts 3:19) For there are many who confess Christ as Lord, and yet never repent of sin that was in their life. Confession is important. You cannot have salvation without it. Just like you can’t have cherry pie without cherries. However, cherries, in and of themselves, do not constitute a cherry pie. Do you know what a pile of cherries is? It’s a pile of cherries. Nothing more. Nothing less. Likewise, a confession of Christ is simply that, a confession – nothing more… nothing less.
Nothing more that is, unless it is added to the other elements of what God has constituted as a “plan of salvation” – the gospel (Hear – Rom 10:17; Believe – Jn 20:301-31; Repent – Acts 2:38; Confess – Acts 8:37; Baptized – Mk 16:15-16; Matt. 28:19). You see, you cannot have the gospel without confession; and yet, confession alone is not the gospel. It is a part. Not the whole. But if confession has resulted from hearing God’s word, and building a faith, and then you confess, and then you build upon that with repentance, and baptism, and faithfulness (Heb. 10:36-39)… well now you have something whole. Now you have the whole counsel of God. Now… you have the gospel. (Col. 1:5-6) As James pointed out about belief in James 2:19 “You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.” Could the same point not be made of confession? For the demons confessed that Jesus was the Christ. (Mk 3:11; 5:7) They knew He was the son of God. And yet; what good did that do them? For confession, without subjection to the WHOLE gospel, is worthless.
And so, confession is meaningless without the rest of the gospel and the rest of the gospel is meaningless without confession. You have to confess Christ to be saved, and if you confess then you will also build upon that obedience by repenting of your sins and by being buried and raised with Christ through baptism. THEN… and only THEN… is the power of the gospel fully realized… when the gospel has been fully obeyed. For to confess Christ, and yet spurn the repentance, baptism and faithfulness that Christ demands, is a betrayal of a confession… and truly not a gospel confession at all. It is as worthless as any other words of man. It is without honor, and without hope.
There are many who have made this worthless confession before? (Matt. 7:21) For declaring “Lord, Lord” is not what gets you into heaven! (Mt. 7:21) Has that ever been you? If so, then by the grace of God, you have the opportunity NOW to make the true confession of the gospel. To confess that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, and to add to that confession the whole gospel – giving yourself in obedience to repentance, baptism, and faithfulness to God (Hebrews 5:9; James 1:12). Do you want to be saved? Are you ready to be saved? Now is the time! For every man shall confess Christ as Lord. There are none who shall be spared that fate. (Phil. 2:5-11) But if you confess now, it is unto eternal life… but if you wait until you see Christ in judgment… then the time… will be too late. (Matt 25:1-13; Lk 16:19-31)