Wednesday, July 15, 2015


No, I'm not going to make some weirdly inappropriate confession on social media, so don't get excited.

I'm thinking about a verse I just read in the Gospel of John.  I'm doing an inductive study of John for my personal bible study right now, and this particular verse struck me.  The context is that the priests and Levites came to ask John the Baptist who he was - in particular, whether he was the promised Messiah.  Verse 20 of chapter 1 states:

"And he confessed and did not deny, but confessed, 'I am not the Christ.'" (John 1:20, NASB)

The dual emphasis on the confession stood out to me.  John confessed who he was not.  He did not deny that the truth was the Messiah was yet to come.  He confessed freely that he was not the Christ. I have been thinking about why God emphasized this.

What came to mind were two verses from later in Jesus' ministry, when He was talking about the end times.  In two different passages, Jesus told his disciples that people would come saying, "I am he" and "I am the Christ," and Jesus warned the disciples not to follow those people (Luke 21:8, Matthew 24:5).  These liars tell people that they are the ones sent by God, but then feed them lies, deceptions, anything but the truth.  These people confess - testify - that they are men and women sent by God, but they are not. Their confessions are lies.

But here's the thing - if we are truly in Christ, we can freely confess who we are.  And who we are not.  There is no condemnation (Romans 8:1), because we "formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.  But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast." (Ephesians 2:3-9).

We can confess who we are in Christ.  We are sinners (Romans 3:23), broken and in need of repair, slaves to sin.  Formerly.  In Christ, we are redeemed. We have been bought with the blood of Christ (Ephesians 2:13).  We are called the sons and daughters of God (John 1:12).  We are not perfect.  We are striving to become more like Jesus.  We are beloved.

I don't have to put on pretenses and "fake it."  I don't have to try to pretend to be something that I am not.  God gives us grace so that we can say freely, "Yep, I'm a total screw-up. But God loves me anyway. And I am ever striving to be like Him."  I can have confidence in who I am in Christ.  I can confess freely how I have screwed up. But I can also confess how God is shaping me and how He is freeing me from those screw-ups.

Friends, you can have confidence, too.  Study the Word and see who God says you really are.  Confess and do not deny, but confess who you were, who you are and who God is making you to be.

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