The “Good” Confession

So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven;

but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 10:32‭-‬33 RSV

The notable promise, made here for the first time by Christ, is that he will confess those who confess him.

The usual limitation on these words is that if one confesses Christ AND REMAINS FAITHFUL UNTIL DEATH then, in the judgment, Christ will confess him!

However, there is the strongest indication that something much more immediate is meant.

True, Jesus did not say WHEN he would confess those who confess him; but he gave an example of it the very first time a man confessed him.

THAT is in the case of the apostle Peter (Matthew 16:17,18) whom Jesus confessed then and there.

From this it would appear that when any person confesses Christ and is buried with him in baptism (the two actions being considered together in such passages as Ephesians 5:26 (Goodspeed’s translation)

Christ confesses those who have been born again, being baptized into Christ, in the presence of God and the angels.

It is possible that such is precisely the occasion when the redeemed have their names written in the “Lamb’s Book Of Life” (Revelation 20:15; 21:27).

Inscriptions in the Book Of Life do not wait upon the judgment, nor even upon the death or proved fidelity of the persons thus honored; but their names are written there while they still live and work on earth (Philippians 4:3).

Confession of faith in Jesus Christ as God’s only begotten Son is a basic requirement of the Christian religion (Romans 10:10).

Paul called it “the good confession” twice in a single utterance (1 Timothy 6:12,13); and the following reasons may be cited for calling it the “Good” Confession:

  • (1) Jesus made it under oath and was condemned to death for doing so (John 19:7; Mark 14:62)
  • (2) God made it from heaven on three different occasions (Matthew 3:17; 17:5; John 12:2:8)
  • (3) All people must make it eventually (Philippians 2:11)
  • (4) It is “unto salvation” (Romans 10:10), being made thereby a part of the plan of salvation.
  • (5) Christ will confess those who make it (Matthew 10:32)
  • (6) It has been made by the saints of all ages.
  • (7) It constitutes, actually a concise summary of all Christian doctrine, namely, that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God!

but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 10:33 RSV

This is the negative of the proposition stated in the preceding verse; but it is not likely that denial of Christ is limited to any formal, blasphemous remark but pertains to all godlessness, or failure to confess him.

People may deny Christ by their works as well as by their words (Titus 1:16).

Note how frequently Jesus refers to “MY Father.” Disciples were taught to pray “OUR” Father; but throughout the gospel narratives, Jesus is continually represented as saying “MY” Father, indicating the unique relationship between Christ and Almighty God.

This fine distinction is too scrupulously observed by the sacred writers to be accounted accidental or irrelevant. In view of this, the common, profane exclamation, “My God,” is a double sin, being idle and profane in the first place, and, secondly, claiming a relationship to God which none of the apostles ever used in addressing deity, and which was constantly used by Christ as an affirmation of his divinity.

True, Paul said, “I thank my God …” (Philippians 1:3); but even so, it is not used as direct address and does not carry the same connotation as Jesus’ expression, “My Father.”

It is freely admitted that this viewpoint is subject to challenge.

And when Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him; and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

Matthew 3:16‭-‬17 RSV

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