So far, we have covered in the gospel plan of salvation Faith and Repentance. After fully believing in what God's word says (faith), and resolving to turn away from all that is sinful (repentance), Confession of the name of Christ before others is commanded. This article seeks to show why such is commanded.
To confess means "to own, acknowledge, or to avow." Why would God have us confess that Jesus Christ is His Son? Because one cannot be anything of value secretly. There is no such thing as a "closet Christian." Notice in John 19:38 that Joseph of Arimathea, who at first was a secret disciple of Christ because he feared the Jews, eventually comes out into the open to render service to the Lord. Others need to know where our allegiance lies. Only then can we serve God faithfully.
Consider also the following reasons for confessing Jesus Christ as Lord:
To be confessed (acknowledged) by Christ, we must confess Him. In Mt.10:32-33, Jesus plainly teaches that He will deny knowing us before God the Father if we deny, or do not confess, His name before others. If we think about it, this is only fair. The Lord will go as far as we go in confession.
Confessing Christ shows we want God's praise more than man's. In John 12:42-43, some Jewish rulers believed (had faith) that Christ was the Son of God. Yet, because of the fear of losing their position among the Jews, they would not publicly acknowledge it. Notice the text states that they believed in Christ (v.42). Would those who claim to be saved by faith only be willing to state that these men, though not confessing Christ as Lord, would be saved because of their faith? Again, faith only will not save.
Confessing Christ leads to salvation. In Romans 10:9-10, Paul states that confession works with our faith. Are we saved at the point of confession only? Some would say "Yes", based upon verse 9. Yet verse 10 states that confession is made "to" or towards salvation.
We have an example in Acts 8:26-39 of a conversion where confession was made. The evangelist Philip preached the gospel to an Ethiopian (v.35). Judging from the man's question regarding baptism, Philip must have mentioned it (v.36). Philip tells him he may be baptized if he believes Jesus Christ is Lord. Upon that, the Ethiopian makes his confession of Christ (v.37). Was he saved at his confession? No, for he had to do something else. After doing all that was commanded of him, only then could he go on his way rejoicing (v.39). His confession of Christ put him one step closer to salvation. Our confession will do the same for us today.