The word, “confess” has the basic idea of “agree” and is the common word for making a legal contract. The concept broadens to “promise”, “assure”, “admit”, “declare publicly”, and “acknowledge”. Jesus is revealed as the Christ, the Son of God, and the Lord. To confess him is to profess him by saying the same thing as God has said and by acting consistently with his words.
In the bible confession is essential to salvation and is basically twofold: 1) confession of sin and 2) confession of faith. Confession by the person is admitting that they have sinned and done things not acceptable to God. By admitting these wrong doings to God and asking him to forgive them, the person has become a Christian and given God control of his or her life. Confession of sin marks the beginning of a new life of faith. Confession of faith involves public avowal and loyalty to God and to the Word of God through which he is revealed.
Confession of sins is the acknowledgment of one’s guilt to God. A person cannot turn to God without first turning from sin. Confession says, in effect, “I am wrong, I have sinned, I want you to forgive me.” Confession is made because people acknowledge the sovereignty of God in their lives. Confession of sins to God should be as specific as possible; yet recalling every sin ever committed is neither possible nor necessary. The bible assures man o God’s forgiveness when confession of sins is made. There may be an occasion for a general confession of the church to God either collectively or by a representative of the people. It may be necessary for individuals to confess their sins against God in the presence of the church. The public confession of sins is important when the church has been involved and its integrity and witness have been compromised. Public confession should never be used to inflict embarrassment on someone or for purposes of punishment.
Confession of faith in Christ is linked closely to confession of sin. To confess Christ is for man to confess that he is a sinner and that Christ died for his sins. By confession faith in Christ man is also admitting that he trusts Christ for forgiveness and cleansing. Also, to confess Christ is to openly acknowledge him before men. Confession in this sense always accompanied baptism in the Early Church. Although it can be costly or risky, public confession of faith was and is essential. Unless people confess Christ before men, Christ will not acknowledge men before the Father (Matthew 10:32-33). Confessing Christ is the opposite of denying him. The believer’s confession of faith is made possible by the Holy Spirit’s enablement. It involves not just verbal avowal of faith in Christ, but also visible obedience to Christ in one’s whole life. When total obedience is absent and one settles simply for understanding o and knowledge about salvation it is equivalent to denial which Jesus will confess when he says in judgment, “I never knew you” Matthew 7:23).
Simply, confession of one’s sins to God and then their confession of their faith in Christ to both God and to others is what the Bible states as the basis for the Christian life. In the Old Testament the believer’s confession usually focused on trust in and praise to God for his redeeming love and acts on behalf of Israel or his own life. In the New Testament the believer’s confession of faith centers in Jesus Christ. The believer confesses Jesus to be the Messiah, the Son of God, that he came in the flesh, that he is Lord, evidenced by his resurrection/ascension.