A Christian Must Confess That Jesus Is The Son of God
This is Part 2 is our series on the study of the epistle of I John. In this study we begin a list of 8 Declarations or Evidences Of The Christian Life. If you’ve missed the beginning of this series, you can click the links below:
8 Evidences Of The Christian Life
John declares 8 evidences of the Christian life in his first epistle. They are truths necessary for the Christian. They are as follows in the list below, according to their order of Spiritual progression:
- I must confess that Jesus is the Son of God – I John 4:14-15
- I must keep His commandments – I John 2:3-5
- Love not the world – I John 2:15-17; 5:4
- The Christian is always receiving the truth of God – I John 2:20
- I’m commanded to “Do Righteousness” – I John 2:29; 4:4-5
- My hope in the 2nd Coming of Christ keeps me pure – I John 3:2-3
- I’m commanded to “Sin not” – I John 3:9-10
- I must love others in the Body of Christ – I John 3:14-16
John is making 8 declarations of evidences that must be in the Christians life. To declare something means that you are “making it known”, “setting forth” an important principle or truth.
John is declaring or making known the evidences of a true Christian. NOT a religious person, but someone who has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Evidence 1: The Christian Confesses That Jesus Is The Son of God
I John 4:14-15
And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he is in God.
What does it mean to confess something? There are a number of contexts for the word confess:
1. To confess with our words. When a criminal confesses to a crime, he is admitting that he did the action of the crime. But confessing to the crime does not always mean he is sorry for the crime.
2. When I confess sin, I am admitting that I am the one who has committed the transgression, the sin, the sinning.
3. There is the Roman Catholic “confession”. In Roman Catholicism, a priest is believed to hold the power of the keys to heaven, by possessing power to pardon sin or deny the pardon for sin. If a sin is not confessed to the priest, it is not forgiven. So the priest becomes the mediator between man and God. This is an unbiblical view of confession. In I Timothy 2:5, the Apostle Paul makes it very clear, there is only one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. The Roman Catholic church has taken the power that is reserved for Jesus Christ and given it to a human priest.
4. A confession or profession of faith – A confession does not have to be about sin. In I Timothy 6:12, the Apostle Paul tells Timothy that he has professed a good profession before many witnesses. It was Timothy’s public profession of his faith in Christ. It was his confession. His life was a public testimony, or confession, of Jesus Christ!
5. A formal statement of belief – Since the beginning of the New Testament Church, there have been statements of Christian belief. There are three purposes for a church to have a formal confession of faith:
(1) To preserve the beliefs in the truth of God’s Word.
(2) To help identify false teachers.
(3) To help with the instruction and teaching of Bible doctrine.
Examples of creeds and confessions significant to church history are the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed.
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate ,was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell (Hades); the third day he rose again from the dead, he ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost; the Holy Catholic Church; the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.
The Apostles Creed clearly outlined the doctrine of the Church and the beliefs necessary to be called numbered among those confessing the true Christian faith.
The Nicene Creed was an example of the writing of a confession of faith for the defense of truth. Written by Athanasius in the 4th century, this confession became the most important creed for the defense of the Christian faith.
Athanasius was called the “Black Dwarf” by his enemies because he was a dark skinned Egyptian and very short. During the reign of Emperor Constantine of the Roman Empire, a church leader named Arius was teaching the error that Jesus was not equal to the Father, but created by the Father. This was a denial of the Trinity and Sonship of Jesus Christ.
Salvation was at issue: only one who was fully human could atone for human sin; only one who was fully Deity could have the power to save us.
Athanasius and Arius, along with 300 bishops, were called before Emperor Constantine, who had legalized Christianity, to debate the issue. Athanasius refused to give in to Arius and the Nicene Creed was written to defend the doctrine of the Trinity. Arius was exiled and proclaimed a heretic.
The Nicene confession of faith would secure the doctrine of the Trinity within church belief and ward off the infiltration of false doctrine.
Contexts Of “Confession” In The Scriptures
There are a number of contexts in the Bible for the “confession” of the believer.
Confessing My Sins
- Confessing our sins is literally telling them to God. But God already knows my sins, and He knows them far better than I do. To God, ALL hearts are open, and there are no secrets that are hidden.
- So when God leads us to confess our sins, it is not that He may know them better, but that we may know them better, and feel them more deeply.
- Confessing our sins means more than just telling them to Jesus. That would be nothing at all, without experiencing self-examination, Godly sorrow, the humbling of our heart, and knowing a holy resolve that brings change to our heart and life.
- There is a two-fold blessing that is promised when we make a true confession: (1) By the forgiveness of my sins, I am justified. I am now accepted by God, who blots out our sins and counts me righteous for Christ’s sake. (2) The cleansing from all my unrighteousness is another promise. Forgiveness of my sins takes care of my past, but cleansing takes care of my future. Now, cleansed from all unrighteousness, I must grow in grace and holiness.
- Man’s courts can hear confession but they cannot cleanse. Public justice can do two things: (1) acquit and (2) punish. But it can’t cleanse the heart of the criminal. Only God can cleanse! And God will not cleanse anyone who does not first confess their sin.
- Have you confessed your sins? This may be the last hour! Jesus said, Behold I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. (Rev. 3:20) If you have heard the knock but refuse to open, there may be a day that God will knock no more, and you’ll be eternally lost.
- What happens when I confess my sins and I ask Jesus into my heart?
- When I confess my sins and ask Jesus to come into my heart, that is exactly what happens. By the power of the Holy Spirit, the presence of Jesus comes into my heart.
- Now that Jesus is in my heart, in my life, He wants to perform the work of His Life in me. That is what the Christian life is, it is the presence of Christ living in me, his work for me, and now His work in me.
- Before I knew Christ as my Saviour, I lived my life MY WAY, in a sinning way. But at my conversion, Christ came into my heart and a new life was now introduced to me. I am no longer living life MY WAY, but I am living life CHRIST’S WAY.
- Colossians 2:6; As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him. Christ is the giver. He gave His life for me on the cross of Calvary. I received that gift of grace and now walk in Christ. This is why my life with Christ must be different from the life I lived before Christ became my Saviour.
- If I don’t receive Jesus Christ the right way, then I will not live for Him the right way. God has been giving and giving. NOW I want to start giving to Him, by giving Him all of my heart, my soul, my mind, and my strength.
My Public Confession Of Jesus
Matthew 10:32 – Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
This is a public confession – or, manner of living – it is my public testimony. There is a quote I first heard from Dr. O. T. Spence. I don’t know if he originated it, but it puts into perspective the value of the silent testimony of daily life for Christ:
There is a witness, that will witness when all other witnesses will not: My Life.
If my life is confessing Jesus before men, then Jesus will confess me. He will mediate for me before the Heavenly Father.
Confessing Jesus Is A Living Saviour
Romans 10:9 – That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Paul is connecting confession with believing. So, this is more than just a verbal confession. It is a confession that is coming from the heart of belief. This is what separates the “religious person” from the “true believer” – the Heart!
Confessing The Perfect Humanity Of Christ: Jesus Come In The Flesh
I John 4:2-3 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
The doctrine that Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, came to this earth in flesh and blood. The belief in the humanity of Christ is absolutely demanded as a condition of being a Christian. In I John 1:1-4, John is a witness to the person of Jesus Christ here on earth. John tells us “we have heard” him; “seen with our eyes which we have looked upon” and we have even “handled” him, the “Word of life”. John was an eyewitness of the humanity of Christ.
There are three reasons for this confession:
- We must know the witness of the Spirit in our Christian life. This is evidence of our faith!
- Too many believers today, are easily deceived by false teachers who lead them away from the truth of God’s Word. I John 4:3, John calls these false teachers antichrist – those against Christ, teaching false doctrine and lies. It is the presence of the Holy Spirit that guards the heart against false doctrine.
- And finally, the true Christian is of God! I John 5:1 – Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.
Confessing Christ’s Deity: Jesus Is The Son of God
I John 4:15 – Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
I have confessed that Jesus has come in the flesh. Now John declares I must also confess that Jesus is the very Son of God. I am confessing His Deity. The man who can see Christ the Son of God enters into the more advanced privileges; God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
- The foundation of this confession is faith. No man says that Jesus is Lord but by the Holy Spirit. This confession seems to include faith in the heart as its foundation. I will profess Christ in my life and conduct, in opposition to the flatteries or frowns of the world. Thus no man says that Jesus is the Lord but by the Holy Spirit, by the external attestation and external operation of the Holy Spirit.
- Paul states in I Corinthians 12:3 – Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. He who confesses Christ, and God in him, is enriched with or possessed by the Spirit of God, and has a knowledge of God and a joy in serving Him.
This confession includes faith in the heart as the foundation; makes acknowledgment with the mouth to the glory of God and Christ, and profession in the life and conduct, against the flatteries and frowns of the world. – Matthew Henry
The confession that Jesus is the Son of God is evidence that a man is a Christian. By such a confession, he is saying Jesus is Saviour of the world.
The phrase shall confess is in the Greek aorist, meaning once for all. I am confessing, once for all, Jesus is the Son of God, the only begotten of the Father. Not a mere man, but a divine person equal to the Father.
It is a test of faith and a “grand article” of belief. But this belief is more than verbal acknowledgment. Even the demons believed Jesus was the Son of God. The centurion at the cross acknowledged, truly this was the Son of God (Matt. 27:54).
But the true confession is bathed in a believing in Christ within the heart, unto an obedient life.
Witnesses In Scripture That Christ Is The Only Begotten Of The Father
From John’s Gospel and on into this First Epistle, we see the theme of the deity of our Saviour. This Saviour was born in a manger stall and died on a wretched cross, but had higher glories than any king of Earth. He humbled Himself to the place of a servant, but all the while was equal with God.
The Scriptures give many witnesses to the confession that Jesus Christ is the Son of God:
1. The Angelic Host – At the annunciation of the birth of Jesus by the angel Gabriel, Luke records in ch. 1:35, And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
2. The Prophets – Old Testament prophets announced the coming of Jesus and proclaimed that the Messiah will be the very Son of God.
Isaiah states in Is. 7:14 and 9:6, that the Lord himself shall give you a sign: Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (7:14)… For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. (9:6).
John the Baptist, the prophet of the New Testament proclaimed Christ is one mightier than I…the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire (Luke 3:16). John the Baptist would later send his disciples to Jesus so that they would witness for themselves that Jesus was the Messiah, come from the Father (Luke 7:19-23).
3. The Disciples & Apostles – From the Gospels to the Epistles, the men who followed Jesus gave witness and public confession to His deity.
Matthew 14:34, Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.
Matthew 16:15-16, He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
John 1:14, And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
Romans 1:3-4, Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead
I Corinthians 15:28, And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
II Peter 1:17, For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
4. Jesus Christ – Christ was conscious of His preexistence with the Father.
John 5:19, Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.
John 17:5, And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
5. God the Father – The Father publicly claimed Jesus Christ as His Son.
Matthew 3:16-17, And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Matthew 17:5, While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear ye him.
John makes it very clear, that confession of Jesus Christ as the Son of God is necessary if we want to know the abiding presence of God in our lives.
This “abiding” is a frequent word in John’s epistle. We cannot know this abiding without first confessing, believing, that Jesus is the Only Begotten Son of God.