THE GOOD CONFESSION

(Acts 8:37) 

THIS passage is regarded by some as an interpola, 
tion. But there is no conclusive evidence to that 
effect. It has been known to all Bible writers since 
Irengeus, who lived in the second century. 

A careful reading of the chapter shows that the 
passage is necessary to fill up the gap between verse 
36 and verse 38. Granting that it might be an inter- 
polation, the interpolator would have inserted the cus- 
tom prevalent at the time. However, we do not even 
admit that it is an interpolation; until the evidence is 
made conclusive, we shall regard it as genuine. 

1. Origin of the confession. When Jesus Christ 
began to preach, men formed various opinions of Him. 
Some said He was a prophet; others called Him an 
impostor; while a few believed Him to be the Messiah. 
Naturally a line was closely drawn between His friends 
and His enemies. The challenge of the Jews (John 
9: 22). Jesus accepts the test (Matt. 10: 32, 33). Thus 
the confession naturally served to distinguish the fol- 
lowers of Jesus from His enemies. 

The conversation at Caesarea Philippi (Matt. 16: 
13-20). Here the Master puts the question directly 
to His disciples. Peter answered immediately: "Thou 
art the Christ, the Son of the living God." The 
entire system of Christianity is embraced in this state- 
ment (Matt. 16:15, 16). No wonder that the Lord 
blessed Peter and gave unto him the keys of the 
kingdom. 

2. Significance of the confession. It is a brief state- 
ment of the system of Christianity. It is all-embracing 
— the only thing that a man needs to believe to be 
saved. Everything from the dawn of creation pointed 
forward to the Christ; everything since His coming 
points back to Him. He is the center of Christianity, 
as the sun is the center of the solar system. 

3. Scope of the confession. 

a. "Thou art the Christ." "Jesus" is His name 
(Matt. 1:21); but "Christ" is His official title. The 
term "Christ" means "the anointed one." Three 
classes of rulers were anointed in olden times — 
prophets, priests and kings. "When we confess that 
Jesus is the Christ, we make Him our Prophet, Priest 
and King. As a prophet, He teaches us; as a priest, 
He intercedes for us; as a king, He rules us. He is 
the One to whom all authority has been given in 
heaven and upon earth. 

b. "The Son." Not a son, but the Son, the only 
begotten Son of God, and our divine Saviour. 

c. "Of the living God." This is a characteristic 
phrase of the Scriptures. The besetting sin of the 
Jews was idolatry. Therefore this phrase has a special 
significance. Jesus was not the Son of a lifeless image, 
but the Son of the living God. 

4. How the confession is made. 

a. With the mouth (Rom. 10:9, 10). It is not 
made with a nod of the head, nor by visiting the sick, 
nor by feeding the poor; but with the mouth confession 
is made unto salvation (Matt. 16:15; Acts 7:37). 

b. Before witnesses. Just as it was made by Tim- 
othy (1 Tim. 6:12). Jesus witnessed the same good 
confession before Pontius Pilate (1 Tim. 6:13). Then, 
what was the confession that was witnessed? That He 
was Christ, the Son of God (Matt. 27:22, 40). Jesus 
will confess those who confess Him before men (Matt. 
10:32). 

5. The place of the confession. It was always made 
before baptism (Acts 8:37, 38). The early historians 
of the church — Irenseus, Mosheim, Neander and others 
— all testify to this fact. It was the test of the fitness 
of the candidate for baptism. 

We do not regard the confession as a step into the 
kingdom, but rather as the oath of allegiance that 
must be made before a person can enter the army of 
Jesus Christ. 

God first spoke in Eden when the human family 
was brought into existence. Twenty-five hundred years 
after, He spoke from the summit of Mount Horeb and 
the law was given. His voice did not break the still- 
ness of the centuries again until He spoke from heaven, 
after Jesus had come up out of the waters of the 
Jordan, saying: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I 
am well pleased." He spoke again upon the mountain 
of the transfiguration, saying: "This is my beloved 
Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him." Do 
we hear Him? We should make the good confession 
for our own good, for the influence upon others, and 
for the good of the Master.