by Rev. Joshua Hayes
Newer is better. We want our devices to be cutting-edge and fast and highly personalized. When it comes to the things of God, however, the Scriptures teach us that newer is not always better, nor should we each have a personal version of the faith. Rather, we are to share and confess the one faith, for there is “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Eph. 4:5).
That’s why June 25 is an important day for Lutherans. It is like Reformation Day in June. It is the day that Lutheran princes and theologians first presented a confession of their faith, The Augsburg Confession, in 1530. Let’s search the Scriptures to see why standing fast and confessing our faith is just as important in 2012 as it was in 1530.
What does it mean to confess? In what senses do we use that word? What does the word mean in the following passages (Ps. 32:5; John 1:20; Rom. 10:9)?
It is often taught that the Greek word for confess means “to say the same thing.” In other words, to confess is to say “Amen” to what God’s Word says. When we confess our sins, we are saying “Amen” to God’s Law. When we confess that Jesus is the crucified, risen and ascended Lord, we are saying “Amen” to the Gospel. What importance does Jesus attach to making a good confession in Matt. 10:2633?
Why do you think people in our day and age are more attracted to picking and choosing their own religion rather than confessing the whole truth of the Gospel (Is. 53:6; 1 Pet. 2:25).
Read 1 Tim. 6:35. Does Paul think that having pure doctrine is important? Why does he think so? (Compare those verses to Matt. 28:20: “Teaching them to hold on to all things which I have commanded to you.”) Why do you think that most people today wouldn’t agree with St. Paul?
Read 1 Tim. 6:1116. What does it mean to “fight the good fight of the faith”? What connection does it have to confessing the faith?
Read Heb. 4:1416. As sinful beings living in a sinful world, how are we enabled to make the good confession St. Paul described? Where does our confidence come from (Heb. 10:23)?
Our Lord Jesus, by the power and working of His Holy Spirit, opens our lips to confess, “for with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved” (Rom. 10:10). In a world of designer religions where people choose their own truth, Lutherans are uniquely poised to stand fast and confess the faith without wavering. We have the truth of God’s Word and have spoken it back to Him in the words of our creeds and Lutheran Confessions. June 25 will also serve as a reminder of our Lord’s call to confess Him before men until He comes again, “and every tongue [will] confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:11).
> Download “Lutheran Confessions: Augsburg Confession and Its Apology” from www.cph.org.
About the Author: The Rev. Joshua Hayes is pastor of St. John Lutheran Church, Crete, Neb.