Confession Is Good For The Soul

“If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)

All of us have likely heard the maxim, “Confession is good for the soul.” It’s an old Scottish proverb but there is a word missing. The proverb actually reads, “Open confession is good for the soul.”

I believe there is biblical truth to this maxim as well. In fact, the Bible supports the conclusion that absent open confession, salvation is not guaranteed. That’s the truth exposed in the Scripture leading today’s column.

You can imagine how startled I was to learn that a mainline denomination doesn’t believe that open confession is necessary for salvation. Just yesterday, a friend of my wife told her she asked her pastor if confession was necessary for salvation. He told her no and emphasized that Jesus saved her 2,000 years ago when he died on the cross.

I was stunned, and wondered how any denomination could read what Scripture says repeatedly and reach such a conclusion. Interestingly, this parishioner told my wife that all she needs to recite for salvation is the Apostles Creed. “I say it every Sunday,” she told her.

I believe the Apostles Creed, too – every word of it, but the Apostles Creed is a statement of faith, not a tool to secure one’s salvation. I like what the Concordia Theological Seminary, a Lutheran-based seminary had to say about the role of this long-standing Christian declaration of faith. “It is intended to be used daily in the life of the Christian and the Christian family for the purpose of faithful meditation upon the Word of God and as medicine to help the Christian against the ravaging disease of sin which infects his life.”

We need to be careful to examine whether our church’s doctrine lines up with Scripture. If you believe for a moment that Jesus’ work on the cross saved you automatically from hell, you are dead wrong. The verse I used to begin today’s column says that you have to do two things to secure salvation. Note that if you do, the verse emphasizes, “You will be saved.” “The verb “will” is the future tense. In other words, salvation was been provided for us by Jesus’ death on the cross, but it is secured at a future date and time when the two conditions prescribed by Romans 10:9 are met. That is exactly what Jesus meant at John 14:6 where he said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus death on the cross is the “way” to salvation – the means, not the end.

There are other verses that support this truth. Think about these as you examine what your church believes.

• 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
• Matthew 10:32: “Therefore whoever confesses me before men, him I will also confess before my father who is in heaven.”
• Psalm 32:5: “I acknowledged my sin to you, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.”
• Acts2:21: “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

We are creatures who have been given free will. When it comes to salvation, Jesus provided the way, and God will knock on the door to our hearts. But the next move is up to us. Indeed, confession is not just good for the soul. It’s what saves it for an eternity.

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