I've been using the above as a springboard in examining the steps that need to be a part of the salvation process. I am not one to rigidly hold to formulas in regards to what needs to happen to be saved. However there are essential ingredients that need to be there in order for it to truly be true. Just as you need certain ingredients to make a meatloaf (for instance) you cannot use the ingredients to make a cake and then call it a meatloaf. The above outline is the skeleton, the basic framework of what needs to happen in order to be saved by grace through faith in Jesus.
In the previous installments I've looked at hearing the word, believing in Jesus, and repenting of sin. Now we will look at what is meant by confessing Christ.
I'll begin, as I did previously, with the verses mentioned in the outline:
Matthew 10:32-33 (KJV)
Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
Acts 8:37 (KJV)
And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
and to these I'll add:
Romans 10:9-10 (KJV)
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
But what does it mean to confess Jesus? Is it a one time event at baptism that you shout "I believe in Jesus for the remission of my sins!!!" and have that be the magic incantation that "gets you in"? No. Yet that is what I often see. If you continue the above Matthew passage, it gives us another clue about what this is talking about.
Matthew 10:34-40 (KJV)
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.
The confession that is spoken about in the Bible is the kind that will cause people who hate Jesus to also hate you, and if you decide that your relationships with family and friends are more valuable to you than risking those relationships, knowing that you might lose that bond of love and friendship with those persons and if you would rather keep your earthly relationships and your earthly rewards rather than speak up the warnings given in God's word, you have decided against confessing Jesus.
True worship and true confession can come only through the One who makes all things true. Without Jesus transforming power none of us could tell the truth because the Bible says:
1 Corinthians 12:3 (KJV)
Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
We must be beggars at Jesus feet asking Him for those things that are needful for our salvation. He will turn no one away who asks things of Him that are in accordance with His will.
Matthew 7:7-8 (KJV)
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
James 1:5 (KJV)
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
1 John 5:14-15 (KJV)
And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
The next and final installment of this series will be on the topic of the believer's baptism. I hope you will be able to join me next time.