Central Truth: Confession is faith’s way of expressing itself. Faith’s confession creates reality.
It is always possible to tell if a person believes right by what he says. If his confession is wrong, his believing is wrong. If his believing is wrong, his thinking is wrong. If his thinking is wrong, it is because his mind has not been renewed with the Word of God. All three – believing, thinking, saying – go together. God has given us His Word to get our thinking straightened out. We can think in line with God’s Word.
In our studies on the subject of confession we have dealt with three types of confession: the confession of the sins of the Jews, the confession of the sinner today, and the confession of a believer who is out of fellowship with God. In this lesson we will discuss the confessing of our faith in God’s Word.
As we mentioned in a previous lesson, whenever the word “confession” is used, we instinctively think of sin and failure. But that is the negative side. That is important in its place, of course, but there is a positive side and the Bible has more to say about the positive than the negative.
Confession’s Five Parts
Confessing is affirming something we believe. It is testifying to something we know. It is witnessing for a truth that we have embraced. Our confession should center around five things:
- What God in Christ has wrought for us in His plan of redemption.
- What God, through the Word and the Holy Spirit, has wrought in us in the new birth and the infilling of the Holy Ghost.
- What we are to God the Father in Christ Jesus.
- What Jesus is doing for us now at the right hand of the Father, where He ever lives to make intercession for us.
- What God can do through us, or what his Word can do through our lips.
Confession at Work – Preaching the Word
15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.
20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following.
God works through us by His Word through our lips. Jesus said, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” That is the way God works through us. We carry the Word to the lost. If we do not carry the Word to the world, then we waste our time praying that God will do something. In other words, it would be useless to pray for someone who is lost if we do not also carry the gospel of salvation to him. If we could just pray and get people saved, we wouldn’t have to send missionaries all over the world. We could just pray all the heathen into the Kingdom. However, the Holy Ghost works only in connection with the Word.
In obedience to Christ’s command to go into all the world and preach the gospel, the disciples went forth preaching the Word everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed the Word with signs following. God didn’t do a thing until the disciples preached the Word. Then signs followed.
Speaking of signs following, they do not follow an individual, they follow the Word. Give the Word out and the signs will take care of themselves. You don’t follow signs. Signs follow the Word.
In the last church I pastored I became greatly concerned that there weren’t enough signs following my ministry. I shut myself away in prayer for several days asking God for more signs to follow. Finally the Lord spoke to me and said, “You have been praying that I would confirm my Word and that signs will follow, but all you have to do is to preach the Word and I will confirm it. If you will preach the Word, signs will follow. If the Signs aren’t following, then you are not preaching the Word.”
I was startled by this, but upon closer examination of my preaching, I discovered that it was true. I had mingled a lot of tradition and personal opinion into my sermons. And God won’t confirm tradition with signs following. As I began preaching more and more of the undiluted Word of God, I began to see more signs following. The more Word I preached, the more signs I had.
God moves only in line with His Word. He has magnified His Word above His name. And we cannot expect to get help from God if we are taking sides against His Word, even though it may be an unconscious act on our part. We should treat the Word of God with the same reverence that we would show to Jesus if He were present in the natural.
Confession Dispels Fear
10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
Have you ever noticed, in reading the Bible, how many times God has told His children to “fear not”? When Jairus sought Jesus to heal his daughter, the Lord said to him, “… Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole” (Luke 8:50). When Christ was preaching to His disciples, He said, “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). When the Lord appeared unto Isaac, renewing the covenant He had made with Isaac’s father Abraham, the Lord said, “… Fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee …” (Gen. 26:24).
If God had just said, “Don’t be afraid,” and left us there, we might say, “But I can’t help being afraid.” But not only did He say, “Fear not,” He also said, “for I am with thee.” Can we really believe that He is with us and still be afraid? No, if we are afraid, it is because we are doubting Him. “But,” someone might say, “I am so weak.” God said, “I will strengthen thee.” “But I am so helpless,” someone might say. God said, “I will uphold thee.”
28 My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word.
130 The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.
It is true that in ourselves we may be weak and helpless, burdened down with cares and problems. But in our weakness we look to His Word for strength, for “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.”
Our confession can be, “God is with me.” We can say, “… Greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world” (I John 4:4). “… If God be for me who can be against me?” (Romans 8:31). You may be facing some problem that seems impossible. Instead of talking about how impossible it is, look to Him who is inside you and say, “God is in me now.” You’ll find that your confession of faith will cause Him to work in your behalf. He will rise up in you and give you success. The Master of Creation is in you. You can face life fearlessly because you know that greater is He that is in you than any forces that may be arrayed against you. This should be your continual confession.
Confession Increases Faith
There is no faith without confession. Confession is faith’s way of expressing itself. Faith, like love, is of the heart, of the spirit. And we know that there is no love without word or action. We cannot reason love into people nor can we reason love out of them. It is of the heart. As faith too is of the spirit or heart, we can safely say that there is no faith without confession. Faith grows with confession.
The confession of the believer does several things for him. First, it locates him. Second, it fixes the landmarks of his life. He will never have more than his confession. “For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith” (Mark 11:23). If we say that we cannot do something, then of course we can’t. But if we say that we can, then we can. According to Mark 11:23, we can have whatever we say, or confess, whether it be belief or unbelief, success or failure, sickness or health.
The reason the majority of Christians, although they are sincere, are weak is that they have never dared to make a confession of what they are in Christ. What they must do is find out how in the mind of God He looks at them and then confess it. We will look into this in more detail in the next lesson, but these privileges are found mostly in the New Testament epistles, as they were written to the church. When you discover all that God has for you, then boldly confess what the Word declares you are in Christ. As you do this, your faith will abound.
The reason that faith is throttled and held in bondage is that you have never dared to confess what God says you are. Remember, faith never grows beyond your confession. Your daily confession of what the Father is to you, of what Jesus is doing for you now at the right hand of the Father, and of what His Holy Spirit is doing in you will build a solid positive faith life.
You will not be afraid of any circumstances. You will not be afraid of any disease. You will not be afraid of any conditions. You will face life fearlessly, a conqueror. And to be a conqueror you must confess that you are one. “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Romans 8:37).
Looking again at the key scripture in Romans 10:10, we see in capsule form God’s law of faith. “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” In seeking anything from God, we must first believe in our heart, because the Word said it. Then we must confess with our mouth that it is so. For example, to be saved a man must believe in his heart and then confess with his mouth that Jesus died for him according to the scriptures, and that He was raised from the dead for his justification.
We confess with our mouth that it is so. For example, to be saved a man must believe in his heart and then confess with his mouth what God’s Word says about it; and third, we see the answer to our prayer. Believe it, confess it, receive it. “… Whosoever … shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith” (Mark 11:23).
As you study God’s Word and learn what His Word says you are, who you are, and what you have in Christ Jesus, even though it may not seem real to you, start confessing, “Yes, that’s mine, according to God’s Word.” You will then find that faith’s confession creates reality.
Memory Text: “For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith” (Mark 11:23).
Faith in Action: “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only ….” (James 1:22).