Does the Bible record anything about a Christian’s confirmation? What is a confirmation?
What is Confirmation?
A simple definition of the word confirmation is that something is confirmed to be true. If you are confirming your reservations on a flight somewhere, you know that you’re seat is reserved (for the most part). Confirmations can be given by someone but circumstances can alter that confirmation from becoming true. A Christian can have a confirmation, indicating to others that they are a Christian, but if their lifestyle of sin is evident, the professed confirmation means nothing (1st John 3). For some, a Christian confirmation is the rite in which their initiation into a church takes place and it’s often defined by their baptism, but is initiation in a church or baptism really what saves a person?
What is Salvation?
Putting aside the word confirmation for a moment, the most vital question is not whether someone is confirmed or not but whether they’ve repented and trusted in Christ. Jesus told us what the gospel is at the very beginning of His earthly ministry by saying “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). Paul and the other writes of the New Testament never mentioned the need for confirmation and neither did Jesus. There are only two kinds of people on the earth; the saints and the ain’ts. Paul wrote that “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. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved” (Rom 10:9-10) because “the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame” (Rom 10:11).
Is Rededication Biblical?
I will try to answer the question as to whether someone who rededicates their life to Christ is important or not and if it means anything to God or has any value whatsoever. In searching the Scriptures, I could not find confirmation or rededication being taught or observed in the Bible. If someone built a brand new building and they dedicated it, why would they ever rededicate it? To rededicate something or if someone’s rededicated their life to Christ, this assumes that they had an initial dedication to the Lord in the first place, so what does that really mean? Outside of a person placing their faith in Christ, their rededicating their life to God doesn’t seem to tell us anything because what if they slip and fall away. Is there a third rededication? How many rededications can there be? What value was the initial dedication to God worth if a person needs a second or a third?
Why we need a Christian confirmation is a mystery to me. Catholics and Anglicans recognize confirmation as one of seven sacraments but what about the Evangelical church? The Bible is completely silent on this subject. The only confirmations that I can see in the Bible is that a person is saved and that salvation is confirmed by the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:16). This results in a new creation or person in Christ (2nd Cor 5:17) because Jesus became sin for them so that they might become the very righteousness of Christ (2nd Cor 5:21) so “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments” (1st John 5:1-2). This is an internal confirmation by God’s spirit and is evidenced for all to see by how they live (1st John 3). “Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself” (1st John 5:10a) but “Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1st John 5:10b-12).
I see nothing wrong with a Christian being confirmed but the crucial thing is, have they repented and trusted in Christ? Our talk is cheap but actions drown out our words. If we have repented and believed in the Son of God as Savior, then we can have an internal confirmation and can have a public confirmation ceremony followed by the believer’s baptism. A ceremony does nothing to assure a person of their salvation but only acknowledging that what Jesus said is true; “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this” (John 11:25-26)? Good question, isn’t it?
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.