Elder Wm. Doyal Thomas
Pastor - Philadelphia
Decatur , Alabama
There is an apparent lack of understanding among those who identify themselves
as Christians as to the meaning of the term, "Confessing Christ". We hear
and read much concerning this expression, and the variety of meanings is
matched only by the number of groups or individuals who claim membership
in the Lord's family. Confessing Christ seems to mean whatever one wants
it to mean, and every group has their own definition of the term.
We certainly do not expect to clear the air of all that is erroneous, nor
do we expect to sweep away all the hypocrisies surrounding this marvelous
doctrine. But we do desire to state as clearly as we are able the correct
view of this stupendous teaching, and then to rest upon God's Word to accomplish
whatsoever He may please in the matter.
Please turn in your Bibles to Matthew, chapter 1, and read
with us verses 18 through 21. "Now the birth of Jesus Christ
was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before
they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph
her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example,
was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things,
behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph,
thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which
is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son,
and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their
Looking a second time to verse 21, we discover a wondrous, marvelous, assuring
and enduring truth. We are made to rejoice as the precious Holy Spirit
opens unto us some understanding of what is here declared. "And she shall
bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save
His people from their sins. His name is JESUS. His assignment is to save
His people from their sins.
This should be so crystal clear to everyone who reads or hears these words
that no further explanation would be needed. Language cannot be improved
upon to state the case above than that which the Holy Spirit has chosen
to be used in Matthew 1:21. The name that God has given to His Son,
the Seed of the woman (Genesis 3:15), means "Saviour". That is His
name. God has given Him that name. What is His name? His name is JESUS.
The title that God has given to His Son is "Christ", which means, "God's
anointed sin bearer". As the Christ of God, He came to bear away the sins
of His people. He came to suffer the just penalty that those sins were
due. He surrendered Himself to the will of the Father, and His announcement
was, "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the
sheep" (John 10:11). He further stated, "I am the good shepherd,
and know my sheep, and am known of mine." (John 10:14).
But what means the title of this message, "Confessing Christ"? How does
"confessing" fit into the name and title, Jesus Christ?
I readily acknowledge that I am not a scholar of the original languages,
nor do I pretend to be. Rather, I rely upon those who are recognized by
most scholars as being one of those scholars. I rely upon their expertise,
as do most men who would like to be known as scholars in their own right.
According to the meaning of the word Homologeo, the Greek word which is
translated into the English word, "confess"; in its verb form, the meaning
is clear. It means, literally, to speak the same thing. (homos, SAME; ego,
TO SPEAK); to assent; accord, agree with.
Now in order for one to confess Christ, one must be enabled to speak the
same thing of Him that God the Father spoke of Him. One must be in accord
with what God the Father said of Him. One must agree with what God the
Father said of Him. And what did God the Father say of Him?
Concerning His coming as the Incarnate Word, God the Father said of Him,
"... for he shall save his people from their sins". (Matthew 1:21).
remember now, this was said of Him before His birth of the virgin, as He
was to come in fulfillment of the prophesy of Him as the Seed of the woman.
Concerning His compliance with the will of His Father, God said of Him
in Matthew 3:17, "... This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well
pleased". This was said when Jesus was baptized at the hands of John, whom
God had sent to preach repentance, and to baptize those who came to him
in repentance. John did not baptize in order to make one to be a son. No,
he baptized those who were sons.
Concerning His coming glory, it was said of Him while He was upon the mount
of transfiguration, as recorded in Matthew 17:5, "This is my beloved
Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him". This was said of Him as He
was transfigured in the presence of Peter, James, and John, as they were
permitted to see His coming glory in preview. And God would not here allow
any to share in that glory, for He overshadowed the scene, blotting out
the transfigured Moses and Elias, so that the apostles saw no man, save
Only when men acknowledge that Jesus came to save His people from their
sins have they truly confessed Christ. It does not matter what man may
utter in word only. It matters rather what man understands in his heart
concerning the Surety of Jesus who would indeed actually save His people
from their sins. Not that He would try to save them.
Only when men acknowledge that God was pleased with the baptism that Jesus
received at the hands of God's only authorized baptiser at that time, prior
to the Lord's church coming on the scene during the personal ministry of
Jesus Christ, following His own baptism, have they correctly confessed
Christ. And those who hold that there is any saving efficacy in the baptismal
fount have not confessed Christ, regardless of what they may say on the
Only when men acknowledge that God was pleased with the finished work of
His Son that leads to His presentation before men in glorification have
they truly confessed Christ. And those, who ever they may be, who hold
to saving efficacy in the works which men may do, have not confessed Christ,
no matter what they may say on the matter.
Therefore, at His birth of the virgin; at His obedience to the will of
His Father in public identification as God's Son; at His completion of
the covenant work given to Him to do in bringing God's chosen ones under
the atoning blood of Himself, God's Lamb, has He totally satisfied God
the Father. And what God the Father said of Him must be, by faith, said
of Him by those who truly confess Him. Have you confessed Him?
In order for you and I to "confess Christ", we must be enabled and caused
to speak the same thing of Him and His work that God the Father said of
Him and of His work.
"Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit
of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the
Lord, but by the Holy Ghost." (I Corinthians 12:3).
Here is a remarkable scripture. It plainly states that the Spirit of God
leads no man to pronounce anathema upon Jesus. It further states that no
man can acknowledge that Jesus is the Lord, except as the Holy Ghost enables
him to do so. Here is clear declaration that men say the same thing (confess)
of God's Son that God Himself said of Him when they are led to do so by
the Holy Ghost, and ONLY when they are so led.
Intellectual attainment does not enter into the matter at all. It is by
the influence of the Spirit of God that any man is ever able to own Jesus
as the Lord. To give mental assent to what another may say is not a confession.
"For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth
confession is made unto salvation." (Romans 10:10). Believing is
unto righteousness. THEN confession (saying the same thing) is made unto
salvation. Salvation is the RESULT of being righteous. Divine order does
prevail in all things, and man needs to know that.
"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for
they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know then, because they are
spiritually discerned." (I Corinthians 2:14).
The natural man (the unregenerate man) cannot receive, know, nor discern
the things of the Spirit of God. It does not matter how wise he may be
in the things of this world, nor how much training he has had, nor how
much refinement he has been subjected to. God's word says that he cannot
receive the things of the Spirit of God, so long as he is only a natural,
unregenerate man. In this awful condition, he cannot "confess Christ",
for he cannot speak the same thing concerning Him that God the Father spoke
And such were all of Adam's race as the result of sin. Sin plunged Adam
and all those who stood in Adam into a dead, unregenerate state: that is,
into a state of spiritual death, or separation from God. "For as in Adam
all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his
own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christs' at
his coming." (I Corinthians 15:22-23).
Adam's sin, and consequently the sin of all his posterity, rendered he
and them unregenerate, or into a state of spiritual death. Now, only Divine
intervention can recover them from that state of separation from God. The
Spirit of God now works, and He quickens, or makes alive, whom He will,
and enables those quickened ones to "confess Christ". Are you so quickened?
Can you "confess" Christ? Can you say of Him what God the Father has said
Now, anticipating questions that may have been raised in the minds of those
of you who are reading this message, I would like to take a few moments
to deal with at least one that seems to come up quite frequently when this
subject is discussed.
We have stated the scriptural position. That is, we have stated that the
natural, or unregenerate man cannot confess Christ. Again, we call your
attention to I Corinthians 2:14, and I Corinthians 12:3 for
verification of that position. We declare that in order for one to confess
Christ, one must be alive spiritually, and led by the Spirit of God to
do so. And notice proof of this in I John 4:15. "Whosoever shall
confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God."
But preacher, what about John 1:11-12? Let's look into God's Book
and see. I know that there seems to be a question about one receiving Jesus
Christ, but let's all be honest and examine the matter in the light of
the Scriptures. Here is the matter: "He came unto his own, and his own
received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to
become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:" (John
You see, dear reader, verse 12 declares that some of those he came to did
receive Him, and to each of them who did receive Him, He gave power (authority)
to become the sons of God. This seems to teach that those He came to not
only could, but did actually receive Him. And it does teach that!
Then the position you have been presenting is false, preacher, for you
have stated that the natural man does not, and cannot receive the things
of the Spirit of God. (I Corinthians 2:14). Correct. I have so stated.
Then how, preacher, do you explain the contradiction? Listen, read, and
In John 1:12, the scripture plainly declares, "But as many as received
him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that
believe on his name:"
Now look carefully at YOUR BIBLE. After this statement of verse 12, there
appears a colon as punctuation. And a colon is used to mark a pause greater
than a semi-colon, but less than that of a period. There is NO PERIOD after
verse 12. And the reason there is no period is, the sentence is
not completed; the completed thought to be conveyed by the sentence is
not totally stated. THEREFORE, contextually, we must read on until we find
a PERIOD, which will indicate that the sentence is actually completed.
Thus, we read in verse 13: "Which were born, not of blood, nor of
the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, BUT OF GOD".
Now, there is a period in my Bible, and in yours. I cannot deny it, and
neither can you! NOW we see that those who received Christ in verse 12
have been BORN OF GOD, which removed them from the unregenerate state,
and placed them in the "born of God" state, and enabled them, yea, even
CAUSED them to believe unto righteousness and then to confess unto salvation
Have you been so born of God? Then can you "confess Christ"? May God be
pleased to cause you to do so. May He be pleased to open your heart so
that understanding is yours, and enablement come from Him so that you can
"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God
"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are
of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby
know ye the Spirit of God: Every Spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ
is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that
Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit
of anti christ, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now
already is it in the world." (I John 4:1-3).
"Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every
one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him."
(I John 5:1).
Sufficient scriptural evidence has been presented to convince any spiritual
man to acknowledge that only those who are born of God can say the same
thing of Jesus Christ that the Father has said of Him. We declare, therefore,
that any theological system that presents works of men for salvation is
a system that denies, rather than confesses that Jesus is the Christ of
When the Word of God is proclaimed before men, and there come those who
deny salvation by Free Grace, then those disputers are not speaking according
to the Holy Spirit's leadership, but by the leadership of some other spirit.
For example: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of
yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
This word is preached, and immediately come the modern day Judaizers who
claim to believe these words of grace, and acknowledge the necessity of
their being preached. BUT, THEY SAY, it is also necessary that one be baptized;
or to belong to this or that group; or to live above sin; or numerous other
things IN ORDER TO BE SAVED.
Surely baptism, church membership, holy living, perseverance are commendable
and necessary. But these all are fruits. These are all done BY A CHILD
OF GOD. They are not done to make, or to keep one a child. If so, then
there is saving, or keeping merit in these works, and man would have ground
for boasting which the text has prohibited. And it would also declare that
the Blood of Jesus Christ must be augmented by the works of men. Away with
such foolishness. This is utter blasphemy.
Have you ever encountered one of these modern day Judaizers? They come
in a variety of names. They may identify as Catholic, Methodist, Campbellite,
Mormon, or whatever. Yet, they are all the same, and of the same persuasion.
And that is, they preach works for salvation, thus denying Christ rather
There are only two systems of theology in all the world. One ascribes all
the work of salvation, and consequently, all the glory and honor to God
ALONE. This is Bible theology, and to this true position we wholeheartedly
agree, and will, by God's grace defend.
The only other system seeks to allow man to share in the work of salvation
and consequently, to share in the glory and honor that is God's alone.
This is the theology of the Devil, and is acknowledged by vast numbers,
classes, and distinctions of religious men.
To which of these systems of theology do you harmonize with? Remember,
there are only two systems. And you are in one camp or you are in the other.
Either you believe God, or you don't. You are not able to be in a neutral
position. You either believe God, or you don't.
We have dealt at some length on the matter of "confessing Christ". We now
wish to present some examples that God has caused to be recorded in His
Bible of those who confessed Him. That is, of some who said the same thing
of Jesus Christ that God the Father had said of Him.
God said that the blood of His dear Son was shed for the remission of the
sins of His people: "... and without shedding of blood is no remission".
9:22). "... but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to
put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." (Hebrews 9:26).
So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that
look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation."
Have any confessed that Jesus is the Christ of God? Listen, and look to
the Bible for your answer.
The woman of Samaria, whom Jesus encountered, by sovereign design, at Jacob's
well, as is recorded in John, chapter 4 is an example which
is irrefutable: "The woman saith unto him, I know that Messiah cometh,
which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus
saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he. And upon this come his disciples,
and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, what seekest
thou or why talkest thou with her? The woman then left her waterpot, and
went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come see a man, which
told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?" (John 4:25-29).
This woman confessed Christ! She witnessed, privately, to the men of the
city. She witnessed to the fact that she had been introduced to the I AM!
She confessed Christ! God did not use this woman in a public way to confess
Christ. She did not preach, for God has never called any woman to preach,
then or now. But, she confessed Christ to men of the city.
For another example of some who ''confessed Christ'' look in your Bibles
to John 6:66-69: "From that time many of his disciples went back,
and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, will ye also
go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou
hast the words of eternal life. And we believe, and are sure that thou
art that Christ, the Son of the living God."
Jesus, in this discourse on the Bread of Life, had preached the total depravity
of fallen man. He had preached the unconditional election by God of some
men to obtain salvation. He had preached particular atonement, since He
had said that He came to die for His sheep, and the Father had said, prior
to His Incarnation, "... for he shall save his people from their sins".
He had preached that all those chosen unto salvation would be irresistibly
drawn by God, the Holy Spirit. He had preached that those chosen, called,
justified ones would, at God's appointed time, be glorified with Him.
Jesus had preached the message of grace, and many professing disciples,
not true, taught disciples, went back and walked no more with Him. But
Peter is led to confess, "... thou art that Christ, the Son of the Living
God." (John 6:69).
May God be pleased, right now, to enable you to believe on His Son, and
then to confess Him as the Christ of God, who shed His precious blood to
make atonement for the souls of His chosen people.
Can you confess Christ?
Baptist Herald - September, 1990)
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