For the Christian, living in a fallen world sometimes means our conduct contradicts our confession. What does living out our confession look like? Does our discipleship match up to Jesus’ criteria of obedience and personal relationship? To sum up Matthew 7:21-23, repentance and faith can be distinguished but cannot be separated. Authentic repentance is a repentance that trusts in Christ. Saving faith is a repentant faith (turning from sin to Christ). Following our repentance and profession of faith, our sin should cause us to grieve, asking for forgiveness from God and others, as we strive to follow our Savior daily.
Matthew 4:17; James 5:16; Mark 7:15
Christians fundamentally understand human problems. Scripture repeatedly provides examples of God’s people whose conduct was inconsistent with what they believed. Described in 1 Samuel as a man after God’s heart, David’s actions are no different. Peter was confronted for his contradictory behaviors. Although he knew truth, his conduct was inconsistent. We can be assured our position in Christ has been secured (justification) but we are continually walking out our salvation.
1 Samuel 13:14; Galatians 2:12-21; Philippians 2:12
Formal Christian confessions have ancient roots. The Bible reiterates the importance of confessing the truth about the Trinity and specifically Jesus Christ. Whether formal or informal, confession must state faith in the God accurately described in the Scriptures. Important to note is that knowledge alone will not transform the heart.
As we struggle with sin, we must go to scripture as a means to knowing God and to being known or searched by him and his word (Hebrews 4:12) – The very word of God is transformational. Bible study coupled with the theology we know to be true must shape the way that we live; pleading before God to be changed by what we read, else we will remain in our sin.
The only way we can know Jesus Christ is through the Scriptures, by the illumination of the Spirit. For one who is born again, the way we approach our failures, guilt, and addictions is radically different from one who is not. We stop trying to solely change ourselves and instead turn to the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Romans 10:9-10; Hebrews 3:1; Hebrews 4:12
The gift of faith entails the capacity to grasp truth about hope in the work and person of Jesus Christ. And our perseverance is not based on our own strength or determined by us, but on the promise of God himself (carried out by all three persons of the Trinity). What is our confession of hope? Confession is the profession of what we believe connected to our perseverance in the Christian life. Holding fast to our confession of hope requires we know why we believe, what we believe and Who we believe. The anchor of the Christian’s conviction is the absolute trustworthiness of God’s word. God pursues his people and sustains us “by the word of his power.”
Hebrews 10:22-25; Hebrews 1:1-3
Thankfully, Christian perseverance isn’t a battle we fight alone. Our ability to hold fast is grounded in the Father’s great love. Jesus Christ, the perfecter of our faith, intercedes for us at the very right hand of God (Hebrews 12:2). Because Jesus is Lord in his person and his work, we can have full assurance of our hope until the end. May we hold fast to the hope set before us while living out our confession.
“So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.” – Hebrews 6:17-18