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The need for a bold confession

“Everyone who confesses me before others, I will also confess before my Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies me before others, I will also deny before my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32,33).

June 25 is a date worth circling on your calendar. For some, it might be a wedding date, a birthday, or the first day of vacation. Yet this date has greater significance for the followers of Christ who call themselves Lutheran. Why?

A historic confession

June 25, 1530, was the day a bold confession of faith was made before some of the most powerful people in Europe, the day when the early Lutherans presented the Augsburg Confession to Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.

Why celebrate an event that took place nearly five hundred years ago? We celebrate because that bold confession made in 1530 is our confession too.

Here’s a little background. After years of religious controversy in his empire, Charles V wanted to settle things, so he gave the Lutherans the opportunity to present publicly what they taught. Reformers like Philipp Melanchthon and Martin Luther sought to convey clearly that what the Lutherans taught was nothing less than the teaching of Scripture. Yet when the time came to present the confession, Luther was unable to do so because he had been deemed an outlaw. So who would do it? Not the theologians but, rather, faithful Lutheran leaders who risked everything to confess, “Most gracious Emperor, this is a Confession that will even prevail against the gates of hell, with the grace and help of God.”

Our continued bold confession

Nearly five hundred years later, will we be as bold in our confession? We do not stand before kings, but making a bold confession is just as necessary today. We live in a world growing increasingly hostile to Christ and his people. The hearts of many are growing cold to the Word of Truth. At the same time, we breathe the air of our culture. We feel its pressure to conform. Keeping our faith private is easy, but what does Jesus say if we do? “Whoever denies me before others, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.” That is a serious warning! If we deny Christ before others, Jesus could deny us before his Father!

So how can we be bold in our confession when the world hates Christ? Jesus makes us bold with a promise of grace: “Everyone who confesses me before others, I will also confess before my Father who is in heaven.” All who faithfully confess Jesus before others will be part of Jesus’ confession before his heavenly Father. You see, Jesus has already defeated death for us. On the cross, Jesus overcame the world to give us what the world cannot give—life! With faith-strengthening grace, Jesus overcomes our natural fears of the consequences of being bold in our confession and promises to bless our faithful confession.

Yet Jesus promises even more. For early Lutherans, many were drawn to the good news of salvation by God’s grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Today your bold confession may not light the world on fire, but it may make an eternal difference for that loved one, that coworker, that neighbor in your life.

So with Christ as our helper and Savior, let’s be bold to confess him now and always!

Read the Augsburg Confession in the Book of Concord, bookofconcord.org. The Unaltered Augsburg Confession is also available from Northwestern Publishing House, nph.net.

Scripture reference is from the Evangelical Heritage Version.

Author: Jeremiah Gumm
Volume 110, Number 6
Issue: June 2023

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