Friday, January 25, 2013

A Right Confession

A Right Confession

Romans 10:8-11
8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 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.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 

A Right Confession is Submission to the Lord Jesus Christ

Our text is one of the key passages in the Bible used by the “Health & Wealth” gurus in their teachings.  They claim that the verses in our text gives them license to “confess” their way to power, wealth, health, prosperity, blessings, happiness, and such.  But, do these scriptures really teach what they are saying they teach?

The word “Confess” does appear in this passage but the question must be asked: what confession was the Apostle Paul talking about?  In verse 8 Paul says that the confession, the word, is “nigh thee, even in thy mouth” and he goes on further to say it is “the word of faith”.  At this point the “Confess-it-and- Possess-it” teachers are doing handstands.  They point at this verse and say this proves all of their teaching.   Is this the case?

We need to look at the other verses in context to understand what “confession” the Apostle Paul was talking about.  Verse 9 tells us that we should confess with our mouth “the Lord Jesus” as well as “believe” in our heart so that salvation may be acquired in our lives.  Verse 10 explains the process of belief in Christ as a progression from heart to mouth.  Now, just to make it clear to everyone: The Apostle Paul was speaking of more than just a simple understanding of belief, for most assuredly the Apostle understood that “devils believe and tremble” but are not saved.  In order for belief to be understood we must know that it is belief unto obedience.  The first act of obedience in every Christian is the obedient act of repentance.  Without repentance your belief in God is no better than the devil’s belief in God.  In other words, you have a “Devil’s Faith” if you believe in God but do not obey God.  Devils’ Faith does not save Lucifer and neither will it save anyone else.  What is the difference in the believing of the Devil and the true belief in Christ?  One word: obedience.  So we see from the context that the Apostle Paul was saying something else entirely.

Romans 10:8-11 are wonderful verses and I have used these verses many times in my ministry.  But, do these verses teach that every believer is given a blank check and all they have to do is write in (confess) whatever they want and God will give it to them?  The answer is no.  The “Confessionist” loves verse eight and just about everybody that is anybody in the “Word of Faith” Movement has taught and written their thoughts on this verse.  It is true that a “confession” is a verbal acknowledgement, but the question is still whether or not this confession involves bigger houses, faster cars, gourmet foods, and fancier clothing.  Is that what the Apostle Paul was referring to when he wrote about “the word of faith” being in the mouth of the believers?

One need only look at the context of all of these verses to see that Paul was writing about “confessing” Christ and not things.  This confession as Paul continues to expound upon in the next few verses is a result of faith in the heart of the believer.  No one can serve God secretly.  Anyone that becomes a Christian must make a public “Confession” of their new life in Christ.  This is what Paul is referring to.  Not only must a person publicly acknowledge Christ but they must acknowledge Him as their “Lord”.  This is the way the Apostle Paul says it, “”If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the LORD Jesus…  Look at that word: “Lord”.  Paul made it clear they were not “confessing” Jesus as their Savior but as their “Lord”.  So many today put the emphasis on Jesus as Savior instead of Jesus as Lord.  This is why we have so many people in Church today living such sloppy lives.  They believe they have a Savior living in their heart but have never submitted their lives over to His lordship.  They understood the Lordship of Christ in the first century Church but for some reason it has been lost in today’s modern Church.  Jesus Christ was specifically referred to as “Savior” 16 times in the New Testament but he was called “Lord” 450 times.  The emphasis should always be on His Lordship first and Him as Savior second.  He must first be your Lord before He will be your Savior.  This is essential New Testament doctrine.

We must ask ourselves the question then what is a Lord?  A Lord is a sovereign ruler that exercises authority over the lives of his subjects.  A Lord sets the laws, controls the populace, makes the decisions, and gives out commands to his subjects.  Those under the leadership of the Lord are required to obey their Lord or suffer his judgment. 

If we confess that Jesus is “Lord” of our life does this put us in control or does this put Jesus in control of us?  The answer to this question is a “No Brainer” as the young people like to say.  Jesus is Lord!  If He truly is Lord then He will be the one that decides what is best for our lives and not us.  These verses do not support the “Positive Confession” movement but they do just the opposite.

Our “Confession” is not about things but it is about acknowledging Jesus as our Lord.  The “Word of Faith” that is nigh us, that is in our mouth, is a confession of His Lordship and our submission to Him.  Anything other than that is twisting the scriptures to their own destruction.    A “Right Confession” is a confession of His Lordship over our lives.  Period! 

A Right Confession Comes Out of a Right Desire

Here is another scripture that is so often taken out of context and used by the carnal to justify their carnal desires:

Psalms 37:4
Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

This scripture is not giving the believer a “spiritual shopping cart” so that they can load it up to their heart’s content.  This scripture is not talking about your desires but God’s desires.  God is not going to give us our carnal desires but He is going to give us His desires so that we will want the right things.   A right confession has nothing to do with cars, houses, and money.  A right confession is about wanting what God wants.

A Right Confession is Other-Worldly

A right confession is not centered on this world but it is centered on another world.  This scripture says it best:

Hebrews 11:13-16
13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.
16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

Any religious confession that is filled with rhetoric that only pertains to this world is not a Heavenly confession.  How can people claim to be a Christian that is going to Heaven when all they think about and all they talk about is this world?

Any true confession of God is not going to be centered in this world but centered in the world to come.  When the disciples asked Jesus about prayer He responded with these words:

Matthew 6:9-13
9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. 

This prayer is otherworldly!  Jesus instructed the disciples to pray to the Father which is in Heaven and to pray that the will of God in Heaven would become the will of God on earth.  Any confession that is more concerned with the things of this world than the things of Heaven is a false confession.

A Right Confession Places the Interests of the Kingdom Above the Interests of the Individual

You see, each individual Christian must understand that Jesus did not save us to make us comfortable.  Jesus saved us so that we could serve Him.  My interests must be subordinate to the interests of the Kingdom.  Those that were martyred for the faith understood this.  Look what the writer of the book of Hebrews says about those that serve the Lord:

Hebrews 11:32-38
32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:
33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
38  Of whom the world was not worthy:) 

What God wants is much more important than what I want.  Any confession that places the interests of the individual above the interests of God is a false confession.

A Right Confession Recognizes what True Gain Is

This scripture says it best:

1 Timothy 6:6
But godliness with contentment is great gain.

The true value that we gain in this world is not something you can put in a bank.  True wealth does not come on a set of four tires.  True wealth is not a piece of real estate or any structure you can place upon that real estate.

Gaining the things of this world does not prove value.  For me to grow in Godliness is great gain.  For me to grow in Holiness is great gain.  For me to become more like Jesus is great gain.  If I can be Godly and be content with the things God has provided then I have what is most valuable.

A Right Confession Comes from Our Lives and Not Our Lips
The Bible does tell us that “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh”, but this does not mean that the mouth creates the abundance.  No!  The mouth only reveals the abundance!  The mouth is not a thermostat but a thermometer.  The mouth does not create abundance it only reveals the abundance that is present in a person’s heart.  A right confession does not come from our lips – it comes from our lives!

If we will live right then our confession will be right.  Our confession will reveal what is stored up in our heart.  Our mouth is like the fuel gauge on our car.  If we are full of the good things of God then our mouth will reveal it.  If we are full of worldliness our mouth will reveal it.  If we are full of carnality our mouth will reveal it.

It is absolutely imperative that we distance ourselves from selfish doctrines that increase the believer’s love for things in this world.  Any teacher/preacher that tries to utilize the Gospel for personal gain and teach others to do so must be avoided at all costs.  This is not to imply that God does not bless His children, for surely He does, but we have learned that the true blessings of the Lord will make us rich without adding sorrow – they will make us more like Jesus while at the same time less like this world.  Let each of us strive to have a “Right Confession” and confess the Lordship of Christ over our lives. 

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