At church on Sunday, we had the privilege of hearing one of our young people make her profession of faith in Christ. Earlier, she had been interviewed by the session (the elders of the church), at which time she shared with us in her own words about her faith. On Sunday, her profession of faith consisted simply of publicly affirming four questions about her belief in Christ. Having already been baptized earlier, by making this profession of faith, this young lady is now admitted to the Lord’s Supper. She is a communicant member of Grace.
Earlier in the week, I had a brief facebook exchange with another person about a theological topic, in which he questioned the validity of a church requiring a baptized young person to make a public profession of faith. One’s whole life, he argued, should be a profession of faith. While this is true in a sense, we believe a young person growing up in the church should also publicly profess his or her faith in Christ. Is there a biblical warrant for this? I believe so, and here are a couple of paragraphs from something I had written earlier that indicate why:
…the Scriptures make a close connection between believing in Christ and in making a verbal confession of faith in Christ: “…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” (Romans 10:9, 10; see also Matt. 10:32; 1 Tim. 6:12; 1 John 2:23). For this reason, we believe making a public confession of faith (or “profession” of faith) is a vital part of the Christian life. This is not to say that a person must make a public confession of faith in order to be saved, but it does imply that there ought to be some occasion for each believer to publicly profess his faith in Christ before others. In doing so, a person (in the case of a baptized covenant child) is declaring to the Church and to the world that he has embraced by faith in Christ the promises that were given to him in his baptism.
How do our children come to this place, where they self-consciously put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for their salvation? Obviously, the most fundamental answer is that it is the work of the Holy Spirit; faith is the “gift of God” (Eph. 2:8). However, God uses ordinary means to work faith in the hearts of our children. Parents, especially fathers, are primarily responsible for instructing covenant children in the knowledge of Christ (Deut. 6:7; Prov. 1:8; Eph. 6:4). And the Church, especially the elders, is also responsible for the instruction of covenant youth (Deut. 31:12; John 21:15; 1 John 2:13). By these means, along with prayer and the Word of God, God graciously engenders belief in Christ in the hearts of our children so that they come to share in the faith of their parents.
It was a great joy to hear this young lady’s profession of faith – a real testimony to God’s faithfulness to his covenant promises. I am looking forward to many more such professions, Lord willing.