As you drive down the road, you are often confronted with cars that have a fish symbol on the back or a sticker saying “Jesus is Lord” on it. Such things show that the inhabitant of the vehicle, more likely than not, believes that Jesus is Lord in some way or another, and probably believes that indicating so on the back of his car partly indicates his salvation per 1 Corinthians 12:3. What, however, is involved in confessing Jesus as the Christ?
Indeed, a major part of confession is the verbal confirmation before witnesses that one believes that Jesus is the Christ, as seen in Romans 10:9:
Because if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Examples of confession include Jesus’ own confession before Pilate and the confession of Timothy before witnesses (1 Timothy 6:12-13).
Nevertheless, confession is not simply something done in a comfortable environment around God’s people, but also to be done even in difficult circumstances. Peter’s great sin in Matthew 26:69-79 is denying that he was with Christ and was a disciple of Him when faced with accusers, having beforehand sworn that he would never do such a thing (Matthew 26:33). As it is written,
“Every one therefore who shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father who is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32-33).
Confession, however, is not just about what one says. If we confess Jesus as Lord only by mouth, and not by how we live our lives, our testimony is hypocritical and false and leads to blaspheming and reviling, and not as is written in 1 Peter 2:11-12:
Beloved, I beseech you as sojourners and pilgrims, to abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; having your behavior seemly among the Gentiles; that, wherein they speak against you as evil-doers, they may by your good works, which they behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
A Christian who does not obey from the heart the standard of teaching to which he is committed (cf. Romans 6:16-18) is not pleasing to God. In many ways, a life lived represents a far greater witness and testimony than mere words spoken. Anyone can recognize a hypocrite; one who lives as he professes, however, will at least be heard and respected. So it is in spiritual matters: confessing Christ by mouth alone is vanity, but confession in word and deed is most pleasing in the sight of God (cf. 1 John 4:15).
Confession of Christ should be far more than a bumper sticker or a fish icon on the back of a car, but a constant part of one’s life, both in word and deed. The life that confesses Christ will remain for all eternity. Are you willing to truly confess Jesus as Lord, and make Him the Lord of your life, and serve Him only and always?
Ethan R. Longhenry