For most of its existence, the Church has identified itself as a confessional community. We see this from its initial formulations of doctrine, which are the rule of faith or the canon of truth, the early creeds, to its current practice of reciting confessional formulas or sharing testimonies when two believers meet. The Christian Church has considered these practices normative for worshipping God during meetings. These confessions of faith entail declaring what you believe to be true while giving evidence by your life through deeds that testify to the faith you profess to others.
Behind the Fear of Confessing Our Faith
With the recent surge in false preachers in the Church, it might seem logical to draw back from confessing faith to one another or even the non-believing community. This situation is, however, not unique to our generation. The Bible speaks of many, even authorities, who believed in Christ, but for fear of being isolated from the synagogue and loving the praise of men, could not declare their faith (John 12:42-43). Today, some pastors fear identifying themselves with church-related titles because of the scandals. The fear of professing faith can come due to various reasons ranging from a likelihood to fall back from faith at some point and the impending shame. Another form of fear arises from the current negative reputation of the Church in social media circles and the fear of facing criticism from close friends and relatives.
Therefore, the fear of confession of faith must be addressed for the following reasons: first, it may keep people from evangelizing to the non-believers; second, it may result in many nominal Christians arising as people are free to live as they will. Unfortunately, the fear of confessing our faith indicates greater problems than just a lack of confession.
The Underlying Issues
The fear of confessing faith indicates other underlying issues, as mentioned earlier. Some of these issues are discussed below.
- Confessing with the mouth and no heart conviction: One of the major complaints of God against the Israelites and the Pharisees was lip worship (Ezekiel 33:31; Isaiah 29:13). The people worshipped the Lord with their mouths, but their hearts were far from him (Matthew 15:7–9). A heart convicted of the truth does not fear death and will share the gospel without reservation. A good example is Peter, who, during Jesus’ death, cowardly refused to confess he was with Christ, But after the resurrection and the filling with the Holy Spirit, he was not only ready to share the truth but also ready to be jailed and die for it (Luke 22:54-62; Acts 4:8-9)
- Is the good news really good to you? I pose this question as a challenge to anyone fearing to confess and share their faith. The gospel message is one of hope and restoration of humanity to God’s original design and desire for humankind. If one understands the nature of sin (and salvation), looking at the transformation in their life since they were saved compels one to realize the excellent deal it is to humanity and hence worth sharing. We should not fear suffering persecution for the gospel (Matthew 5:10-12; John 15:19-20).
- Love for human approval: We saw earlier that many people believed in Christ, even the authorities, but for fear of losing the approval of men, they could not confess their faith (John 12:42-43). The Psalmist repeatedly confirmed his trust in God and a lack of fear for human beings (Psalm 56:11; 118:6). Sometimes, we may fear losing some benefits to which the Bible says that the Lord is our helper and thus we are to fear no man (Hebrews 13:5-6). The Bible commands us 365 times to fear not. Isaiah 41:10 assures us that God is with us, hence no need to fear.
- Lack of the joy of salvation: God desires us to be joyful (John 15:10-11). A soul that is satisfied in Christ is joyful (Philippians 4:4). Joy is a glorious gladness and deep delight in the person of Jesus Christ. If we are joyful and satisfied in Christ, sharing and confessing our faith in him becomes exciting. Joy is the product of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22). We lose the joy of salvation the moment we take our eyes off him and decide to be our own gods (Psalm 51:12).
- Lack of trust in God: Do you believe the one who called you can keep and preserve you until his second coming (1 Thessalonians 5:23)? The fear of recanting your faith in future is a scheme of Satan to keep you hostage (Galatians 5:1). He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion (Philippians 1:6). God desires that we trust him completely. His grace will certainly carry us through all life has to bring (Isaiah 46:4). The fear of not staying in faith to the end comes from a lack of knowledge of God or trust in his promises.
Benefits of Confessing Your Faith
- It breaks our allegiance with the world and its broken standards: When people see how serious you are about your walk with Christ, they easily appreciate the boundaries you set. An open confession of your faith will help introduce the new you to people who may think you are still the old you that loved worldly pleasures and sinful lifestyles. After the Samaritan woman met with Christ, her life was so changed that she moved around, sharing her newfound faith with everyone (John 4:28-30). Consequently, people wouldn’t expect her to live her old life, saving herself lots of trouble.
- Confessing our faith aligns our lives with Christ’s expectations: Jesus said in Matthew 10:32 that whoever acknowledges him before men will be acknowledged before his Father. Christ demands a public declaration before the Church and the World. A loud profession of our faith indicates our absolute allegiance and obedience to Christ (Luke 12:8). If we fail, Christ assures us that he wouldn’t introduce us to the Father (Matthew 10:33).
- Deepens our trust and commitment to Christ: Regular confession of the Christian faith deepens personal faith and, over time, develops a disposition of belief in Christ-followers generally. When challenged, this disposition of belief responds with a firm and settled conviction that expresses itself confidently (Revelations 12:11). Corporate confession of the faith provides a vital training ground for dispositional belief.
As Christians, we must unapologetically share our faith with others. Who knows, if the Lord allows, we could end up being winsome enough in our sharing to bring one other soul into the Kingdom of God.