CONFESSION, Never Too Late To Begin

Hebrews 3:1; Jesus is the “High Priest of our confession.”  This principle should also govern our ongoing relationship with the Lord. In fact, it should the ruling principle in every relationship and on to every circumstance.

Hebrews 10:23 (NLV) “Let us hold on to the hope we say we have and not be changed. We can trust God that He will do what He promised.”past due

In every situation we encounter, we must respond with an appropriate scriptural confession in order to invoke on our behalf the continuing ministry of Jesus as our High Priest.  In most situations we have three possibilities; to make a positive, scriptural confession.  If we make a positive confession, we release the ministry of Jesus to help us to meet our need.  If we make no confession, we are left at the mercy of our circumstances.  If we make a negative confession, we expose ourselves to evil, demonic forces.  Negative confessions can become “self-imposed curses,” Proverbs 18:21,”Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”, we chose what our life will be by the very words we speak, are those words ones that influence life and love or we actually destroy ourselves by evil speaking.

Our negative words cut into the soul spoken against self or others, the sword is two edged and cuts both he who speaks and the one the words are targeted against. Psalms 64:3 “They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim their words like deadly arrows.”

Some believe it is too late to begin a life of positive confession, yet we know that our words DO carry great power and we can shape the future by changing the words spoken. Time may be required to negate the negative spoken word but the positive words will take over and will rule especially when fuelled by the Word of God. Proverbs 13:3: “He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.” Proverbs 21:23: “Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.

It is important to distinguish between the scriptural confession of genuine faith and such things as wishful thinking or irreverent presumption or some kind of “mind over matter” philosophy.  There are three main differences.

First of all, “confession” in the biblical sense is limited to the statements and promises of the Bible.  It consists in saying with our mouth what God has already said in His Word.  Beyond this confession cannot go.

Second, confession is also limited by the conditions attached to any particular promise.  The great majority of the promises in the Bible are CONDITIONAL.  God says, in effect, “If you will do this, then I will do that.”  Confession is valid only if the appropriate conditions have been fulfilled.  It is never a substitute for obedience.

Third, confession cannot be reduced to a convenient. “system”, operated by human will.  According to Romans 10:10, confession is effective only if it proceeds from faith in the HEART.  There is a radical difference between faith in the heart and faith in the mind.  Faith in the mind is produced by our own mental processes; all it can produce is words, devoid of power.  On the other hand, faith in the heart is produced only by the Holy Spirit, and it produces WORDS CHARGED WITH POWER  to accomplish what is confessed.  What God has promised to faith in the heart is out of the reach of mere mental faith.

In imparting faith to the heart, the Holy Spirit jealously guards His own sovereignty; He is not amenable to “witchcraft.”  No one can manipulate Him or Make Him do anything contrary to His own will.  Concerning this kind of faith,, Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:8-9 that it is “not of yourselves; it is the flight to God away from works, LEST ANYONE SHOULD BOAST.”  Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV) “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.” Mental faith often tends to be boastful and self-assertive.  Genuine faith is in the heart, on the other hand, humbly acknowledges its total dependence upon God.

With these qualifications, however, confession (rightly understood and practised) can be a decisive factor in the Christian life.  In James 3:4-5 (NIV) “Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.” The apostle compares the tongue to the rudder of a ship.  Although tiny in comparison to the whole structure of the ship, the rudder determines the course that the ship will follow.  Used rightly, it will guide the ship safely to its appointed harbour.  Used wrongly, it will cause shipwreck.

This applies to the way we express our faith.  Right confession can bring us into all the blessings God has promised.  Wrong confession can take us further and further away-into perilous, uncharted seas where some kind of shipwreck awaits us.

People are often unwilling to accept responsibility for the words they speak.  According to Jesus, however, there is no way to escape the issue: “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned: Matthew 12:37. Our words will either confirm our righteousness in God’s sight, or they will bring us under condemnation.  There is no middle ground. Romans 10:10 (NIV) “For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved”  According to Romans 10:10, faith in the heart becomes fully effective only when it is confessed with the mouth.  This is also true of unbelief.  When we express our unbelief in word, we release its negative power to work against us, and  to withhold from us the blessings God has promised to faith.

The writer of Hebrews offers two further warnings concerning the importance of right confession. In Hebrews 4:14; seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.  Again, in Hebrews 10:21,23: …. And having a High Priest over the house of God…. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

In each of these passages, there is a direct link between our confession and the ministry of Jesus as our High Priest.  The same principle holds throughout the New Testament.  It is our confession that unites us to Jesus as our High Priest and releases His priestly ministry on our behalf.  Our confession must always be that of trusting what the Lord has already accomplished for us, our lives thrive upon His Word and His Word must be that which passes from our lips.  Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”  How often we hear those who speak against confession of the word say “that just doesn’t make any sense” perhaps not, but when God says it, we must trust that He knows what is far superior for us to live in and live by. Psalm 111:10 (NLV) “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. All who obey His Laws have good understanding. His praise lasts forever.”

ALL who obey His law, where there is a law of confession that we must “OBEY” if we are live to live a life of victory health and healing. Matthew 12:33-37 (NLV) “A good tree gives good fruit. A bad tree gives bad fruit. A tree is known by its fruit. 34 You family of snakes! How can you say good things when you are sinful? The mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35 A good man will speak good things because of the good in him. A bad man will speak bad things because of the sin in him. 36 I say to you, on the day men stand before God, they will have to give an answer for every word they have spoken that was not important. 37 For it is by your words that you will not be guilty and it is by your words that you will be guilty.”

Hebrews 10:23 (NKJV) “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” Another emphasis is on the words HOLD FAST. It is important to make the right initial confession,, but that is not sufficient by itself.  In every subsequent situation where the same issues apply, we must consistently reaffirm our original confession. In Hebrews 10:23 the writer challenges us not merely to hold fast our confession, but to hold it fast WITHOUT WAVERING.  Clearly he envisages various possible situations that might cause us to waver.  “Wavering” might express itself in failing to maintain the initial right confession, or even express itself in failing to maintain the initial confession, or even in changing a positive confession to a negative one.  In any case, the warning against wavering indicates that the pressures directed against us all have one objective: to make us retreat, or even deny, our original right confession.

The concept of right confession seems so simple, perhaps even simplistic; just to say concerning each problem or each test exactly, and only, what the Bible says about it, and to keep on saying it.  Yes, it is simple, but it is not easy!  In fact, I have concluded (both from experience in my own life and from observation in the lives of others) that it is perhaps the most searching test that has confronted every martyr.  Faced by accusation, threats, torture, he has one supreme commitment:  TO MAINTAIN HIS CONFESSION OF THE TRUTH TO THE END.  When the accusations come from visible, human enemies, the issues at least are clear. But there is another kind of test less easy to discern, in which the accusations are inward, directed against the mind by invisible demonic powers.  Yet the issue is the same: to maintain the confession of the truth with unwavering determination until those invisible forces are silenced and  routed.

Any Christian who successfully passes this test can be assured that he will overcome, and that as such, he will inherit the blessings that God has promised to those who overcome.

To give full, victorious expression to faith, however, there is one further biblical concept that takes us beyond confession.  It is “proclamation.” Derived from a Latin verb meaning “to shout forth” or to “shout aloud.”  Proclamation suggests strong, confident assertion of faith, which cannot be silenced by any form of opposition or discouragement.  It implies a transition from a defensive posture to one of ATTACK. In Psalms 118:11-17, the psalmist describes such as experience.  His enemies had surrounded him on every side and were about to destroy him, but the Lord intervened and gave him victory. His transition from defense to attack is described in verses 165 and 17: Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: “The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things  I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done. (NIV)

It was the psalmist’s joyful  confident proclamation of what the Lord had done for him that set the seal on his victory,  Rightly practised, it will do the same for us.  Two important principles are illustrated by this account.  First, God expects us to praise Him for the promises He gives us, without waiting to see them fulfilled.  Second, praise offered in faith releases the supernatural intervention of God on our behalf.  Briefly stated Faith begins praise God BEFORE the promised victory, not merely after it.

In the New Testament, in Acts 16, the experience of Paul and Silas in Philippi dramatically illustrates the same principles.  As a result of casting a  demon out of a slave girl, they had been unjustly arrested, savagely abused and beaten, and then thrown into the maximum security section of the jail, with their feet in stocks.  There was no ray off light in their darkness, no source of comfort or encouragement in their physical situation, no assurance as to what the future held.

Yet in their spirits they knew that nothing could change the eternal faithfulness of God, and nothing could rob them of the victory Christ had won for them.  The logic of their faith triumphed over the logic of their circumstances. At midnight, the darkest hour, they were singing hymns or praise to God.

Their praises did the same for them as for Jehoshaphat’s army:  They released the supernatural intervention of God on their behalf.  “Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed” (Acts 16:26)

The lesson of Jehoshaphat’s army and  of Paul and Silas in the jail is summed up by the Lord Himself in Psalm 50:23:” He who sacrifices thank offerings honours me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.”

God’s salvation is already complete through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Nothing we say or do can ever change that. But when we respond with sacrifices of thanksgiving and praise, we open the way for salvation’s benefits to be manifested in our lives.  Like Jehoshaphat, and like Paul and Silas, we must learn to offer these sacrifices in faith, before we have actually experienced the benefits.

In Psalm 20:5, David said: “In the Name of our God we will set up our banners.” Again, in Song of Song of Solomon 6:10 (NKJV) “Who is she who looks forth as the morning, Fair as the moon,

Clear as the sun, Awesome as an army with banners?,” The Bride of Christ is portrayed as “awesome an army with banners.”  The most effective “Banners” God has given us are PROCLAMATION, and PRAISE.

A “Banner” is the standard, coat of arms, the flag that fly’s above a serving army, the flag of country whom se serve. Our Banner must be that of the Lord.  Psalm 20:5 (NKJV) “ We will rejoice in your salvation, And in the name of our God we will set up our banners! May the Lord fulfill all your petitions.” Petitions? Another word for our confession. They are under the banner of God. We find rest and assurance under the standard that God has set, we know that when our confession is covered by His banner we see victory. Isaiah 59:19 (NKJV) “So shall they fear The name of the Lord from the west, And His glory from the rising of the sun; When the enemy comes in like a flood, The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.” Here we see Jehovah Nissi, “The Lord Is Our Banner” Jehovah’s name means, The God who keeps covenant and fulfils His Word, His Spirit is our banner released by our Words beneath His banner.

The Greatest banner of all is symbolized in Christ and His victory upon the Cross and all banners or standards fly high in the air, He too was raised high so we may be found sheltered beneath that standard, the Cross of Christ. John 3:14-15 (NKJV) “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but[a] have eternal life.” Why, because His banner over us is Love. Song of Solomon 2:4 (NKJV) “ He brought me to the banqueting house, And his banner over me was love.”

The enemy will attempt to overwhelm you with attacks upon your confession, he will attempt to throw all he can against you, flooding you with every negative thought in an attempt to make the word you trust in null and void so in doing so he wins. Do not allow him to do so raise the Word of God upon your lips as your standard against him, Isaiah 59:19 (NKJV) “So shall they fear The name of the Lord from the west, And His glory from the rising of the sun; When the enemy comes in like a flood, The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.” Again that standard is Love.

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