Do We Truly Confess?
Too often, in teaching others the "steps to salvation," there is a tendency to regard them as "steps" — i.e. something that is accomplished in one easy motion prior to the next "step." Take, for example, what is usually taught in regard to the "step" of confession.
We read Rom. 10:10, "for with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." We then turn to Acts 8:37 to point out what is said in this confession, "And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." Finally, to stress the importance of making this "good confession" before others, we read Matt. 10:32, "Everyone therefore who shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father who is in heaven." Now, we think we have taught what it means to confess Christ before men, so we proceed to the next step — baptism.
Yet, if we stop to think, we know that belief is more than mental assent to the fact of Christ's deity. We stress that repentance is more than saying "I'm sorry" and baptism entails more than just going down under the water. In like manner, confession involves more than the verbal acknowledgment that Jesus is the Son of God. It is more than just a statement made prior to one's baptism.
"The verb (Confess- ko) really means 'to say the same thing' as another, to voice agreement with him, and thus to acknowledge and confess him" (Lenski — comments on Matt. 10:32). Vine states the meaning of "confess" as to "speak the same thing." Confession then, in its broader sense, is recognizing that Christ is Lord. It is an acknowledgment that He has all authority and that we are to be in subjection to Him. To the extent that He is our Master and we are His servants — His will becomes our Will, His teachings become our teachings. Thus, as the definition states, we strive to "speak the same thing" as Christ.
Now we must ask, are we willing to practice the confession that is "unto salvation?" Christ said, "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God." Do we tell others by our words and actions that God's business comes first — OR do we teach that such things as friends, entertainment, or our jobs maintain top priority? Do we "speak the same thing" as Christ in regard to church discipline? Or do we say "Just leave the unfaithful brethren alone, pressure might drive them further away!" Are we willing to denounce denominationalism — or have we swallowed the false notion of "just preaching the truth and leaving error alone"? To what extent are we willing to confess Christ (speak as he speaks)?
Christ warned His disciples that such confession would have its cost. He informed them that they would be scourged in the synagogues and "hated of all men for my name's sake" (Mt. 10:16f). The cost of speaking as Christ speaks is high, but the cost of not doing so is much higher. Remember His words "But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father who is in heaven" (Mt. 10: 33). This "step" of confession is no small step. Kevan O'Banion