Matthew 16:15-16 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
The word for today is confession. It is a word we use two different ways, at the beginning of the service we confess our sins, and after we hear the Word of God, we confess our faith. It is important that we understand that there is a difference. When we confess our sins, we accept the testimony of the law and our conscience, that we are sinners, and deserve nothing but punishment, our sins shame us, embarrass us, and we desire to turn from them, so we turn to God asking him to have mercy on us and to forgive us our sins and make us a new creation.
It seems however, that in this age, many seem to confess their faith as though it were a sin, many seem embarrassed to admit that they are Christians, and sometimes it seems as though they would desire to repent of their faith in order to fit into the world. This is not what confessing your faith is about.
The answer to the dilemma is quite simple. When we confess our sins, we publicly acknowledge our sins, we accept that we did it, we are sinful and unclean, and that we have sinned against God and against others, and that we are sorry, and we ask for mercy. When we confess our faith, we publicly acknowledge that Jesus is our Lord and Savior. The two go together, if you don't have sins, you really don't need a savior. When we confess our sins, God's response is to bring us the good news of our Savior, that by his blood shed for us, our sins have been washed away, and we have been made clean. When we confess our faith, we are confessing our hope, faith & trust that the blood of Jesus has washed away all our sins.
This is what brings us back to our text. Because the question: "But who do you say that I am?" is addressed to disciples of all time, and that means it is addressed to us today as well. It is a good question for us to ask ourselves - who do we say that Jesus is to us?
Although it is not pleasant, it is good that we have the mirror of the law, which shows us our sins, which shows us that we cannot save ourselves, which shows us that we need a savior - and as good as the law is, it is also good to remember that the law, by itself cannot save us. We also need the gospel, the good news that there is a savior, and that by his suffering and death for our sins, by his precious blood, we have been offered and given, life, hope, salvation and forgiveness.
We confess 2 things about Jesus, we confess that he is our Savior, that is he takes away our sins - and we also confess that he is our Lord, that is, the ruler of our life, our chief reason for being, the guide for all our days. While it may be somewhat easy, having seen our sins, to trust in Jesus for forgiveness, it is somewhat more difficult sometimes, to place Jesus at the center of our lives, to follow where he leads, and to do his will - often our will and desire get in the way. So that there is a question we can ask ourselves as we go through the day - as we do this, who are we saying that Jesus is to us?
Matthew 10:32-33 So every one who confesses me before men, I also will confess before my Father who is in heaven; 10.33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.