Monday, July 1, 2013

The Confessing Christian

Christians confess. That is simply what Christians do; confession is what makes us Christians in the first place. You are a Christian because you confess Christ, from the simplest, basic confession of the New Testament, “Jesus is Lord,” to the complexities of the Athanasian Creed. Christians confess, and our confession is that of Christ as God in the flesh, our Savior who died and rose again for us. Having heard this message, we cannot help but speak it back in joy to our neighbors and our God. In fact, to ‘confess’ means to ‘say the same thing,’ to repeat back to someone else what you have already heard. Therefore, to confess the faith is to speak back to God and to the world what we have been taught by Him in the first place. And what He has taught us is Christ: His death, His resurrection, for us, in our place.

What God has taught us is our need for Christ. The Law comes before the Gospel; before we can confess our Savior, we need to confess that we need a Savior. This is also a matter of ‘saying the same thing;’ God tells us clearly in His Word that we are sinners condemned to eternal death, and we respond, we speak back to Him and the world with that same message. God shows us His Law, encapsulated in the Ten Commandments, and declares: “These you have not kept.” We hear that proclamation and we respond by saying the same thing: “These I have not kept.” Then, and only then, are we prepared to hear and confess the saving message of Christ, His death, His resurrection, for us, in our place.

Christians confess; that’s simply what we do. We confess our sin and we confess our Savior. The Law is proclaimed to us: we confess. The Gospel is proclaimed to us: we confess. Our mouths are constantly speaking back to God and the world what God has first declared to us. The Christian therefore lives within the dynamic of both Law and Gospel; we are constantly examining our lives according to God’s Word, and where we see sin, we confess it, and hear Christ’s forgiveness applied to us.

Christians confess; that’s simply what we do. Christians come to the Divine Service knowing that they need to confess and receive the blessed absolution. Christians go to private confession and absolution because they know of sins that need to be confessed and forgiven. Christians who avail themselves of both Sunday morning and private confession and absolution will then confess to their neighbors, admitting their sins and asking for forgiveness. The Lord bless your confession, of your great sin, and your greater Savior, each and every day!

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