In 1 Timothy 6:11-16 it says, “But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.”
So what is, according to scriptures, the good confession? That phrase in today’s religious climate might make us think of some rehearsed ritual where certain words have to be said in exactly the right order because of centuries of tradition. Well, to take a good look at the question, we must examine the context of not only this passage but others that describe confessing as well.
To begin with, in the above verses Paul (inspired by the Spirit) tells Timothy that the good confession he made before many witnesses about the eternal life to which he was called. So what did Timothy confess? He confessed to the grace of God, the blood of Jesus which had forgiven his sins and called him to eternal life. Also, please note that this same passages mentions that Christ himself made the good confession in front of Pilate. But Jesus never committed sin. He died for our sins, not his
So what does it mean when it says that He made the good confession as well?
Again, to correctly find the answer, we have to look at the context, which in this case is Jesus on trial before Pilate. In John 18:36-37 it says, “Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.’ Then Pilate said to him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.’”
Looking at what Christ said, what is it that He confessed? He confessed that He is a king. We also see in the accounts that He told Pilate that Pilate had no authority over Him except for what God had allowed, showing that Jesus has actual authority. Now it is clear what is meant by “the good confession” It means confessing that Jesus is the Son of God, the King of Kings, that He is who He says He is. Of course, as I mentioned earlier, for us now this means confessing that He died for our sins and rose again- confessing our faith that the gospel is true. All of this is simply the logical conclusion to believing that Jesus is the Son of God.
So often we bring up confession when it comes to conversion, and for good reason- we see that it is a step in God’s plan of salvation. “But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Rom. 10:8-9)
“So everyone who confesses me before men, I also will confess before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.” (Matt. 10:32-33)
There is no doubt in reading & understanding the Bible that confessing who Jesus is and what He has done is essential. God wants us to believe in Him and He wants us to be willing to admit to it publicly! No wonder that making public confession is seen before one is baptized into Christ “And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, ‘See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?’ And Philip said, ‘If you believe with all your heart, you may.’ And he replied, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.’ And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him.” (acts 8:36-38) What use are we to the Lord if we are too afraid to confess that Jesus is the Son of God and that He died for us, the very foundation of our faith?! This brings me to my final point, which is that confessing Christ, confessing our faith, and sharing it with others is NOT something seen & done only once prior to baptism. As Christians we should be confessing Christ daily! So why don’t we? What makes us so busy that we cannot mention our trust in the Bible, or scares us so much that we dare not let it be known that Jesus is God? Perhaps our pride gets in the way. Maybe we listen to Satan when he tells us that it would just be easier to keep things to ourselves. Either way, we let opportunities pass us by that we should be jumping on to let others know about salvation through Christ.
Remember what Paul said: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’” (Rom. 1:16-17) Bear in mind that this is the alternative; if we do not confess God, if we do not confess faith in Christ and His power to save, then we are ashamed of Him!
Have you, in your life, made the good confession? You must to become a faithful child of God. And after being reconciled to Him, you must be willing to confess your faith!