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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November 2011

Romans 10:9 - That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Confessing. That is an interesting word. What do you think of when you think of confessing something? Typically, I would guess, that we believe confessing means to "fess up" or admit that you are wrong. In church on Sunday, when we confess, we are declaring to God that we are sinners by admitting our sins to Him and seeking His forgiveness. To confess means to say the same thing back to someone. We confess we are sinners because God's law has shown us we are sinners. We are saying back to Him what He has already told us. This means, too, that we could rightly confess that we are forgiven, for God has said that to us as well!

There is yet another way to confess that has more positive connotations. We also say that we confess the faith. That is, we say back to God and out to the world what God has delivered to us in the Scriptures. We confess the Apostle's Creed on Sunday morning. Here, not only are we saying back to God what He has revealed to us about Himself, but what is more, we are saying with God to the world what is true about Him. To confess also means to "say with." So, with God, we confess that He is our creator, savior, and redeemer. He is one God in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He has revealed Himself to us that way and so that is what we confess about Him.

Confessing is an important part of being a Christian. Often times, confessing is required in the face of opposition. It is one thing to confess our sins to God, or to confess to God and before the church that we believe what He says to us is true. It is another thing altogether to confess what we believe to a world that is antagonistic to the Gospel.

As Lutherans we consider ourselves a "confessional" church. That is to say, we take our stand upon a specific confession of faith. We have a book of "confessional" documents called the Book of Concord in which the early Lutherans take a stand over and against the false teachings of their day. The church in those days had denied the gospel of salvation by grace alone through faith alone on account of Christ alone by teaching that there was something we must do in order to stand righteous before God. The early Lutheran theologians (called Evangelicals) wrote a number of documents confessing that they believed, with the Scriptures, that Jesus' atoning death and justifying resurrection are sufficient for our salvation. Through faith in God's free gift of Jesus we stand forgiven before God, not by our works. Confessing the gospel put the lives of these Reformers in danger, and yet, they knew, that there was nothing more important than to fight for the gospel itself!

Today, We are still called by Jesus to confess our faith to a world that is hostile to the gospel of salvation by grace alone. There are other beliefs we must be ready to confess to the world: The belief that God is our creator, the belief that the Bible is God's infallible Word, the belief that Jesus is God in human flesh, the belief that there is only one God who saves us and not all roads lead to Him, and so on. The world does not know, denies, or hates these teachings. And yet, Jesus calls us to be faithful to Him and to proclaim the truth of His Word, to confess the truth in face of opposition.

I praise God that we are a confessional church with a history of confessing saints who have been bold to confess the truth of God's grace in the face of worldly opposition. As we conclude our series on the Apostle's Creed, it is my prayer we are more equipped to confess the truth to the world. It is my prayer that through our confession the world would not continue in opposition, but that they too may come to know Jesus!

Pastor Bob

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