The Confirmation of The Believer

October 2, 2013

The Confirmation of The Believer

The Bible talks about confirmation, but it isn’t what it is for many people in this world.  Biblically, it is partly a work of God, and in part a work of man.  We read about it in Acts 14:21-22.  “And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch,   Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” These verses clearly imply that it is a work that is done by God’s servants.  In Bible believing churches it is what is called “discipleship.”

We read about it again in II Corinthians 1:21-22.  “Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God;   Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” Here we have the word “stablish.” This Greek word, and the word translated “confirming” in Acts 14:22, have basically the same meaning.  Both mean to confirm.  God wants us to have the assurance that we are his child.  We don’t go bouncing in and out of salvation from one day to the next.  John 10:28-29 assures us that if we are in God the Father’s hand, we are safe and secure.  “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.  My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”

In II Corinthians 1:21-22 Paul mentions the work of the Holy Spirit.  He makes note of three things that the Holy Spirit does for the believer.  He says he is anointed.  In the Old Testament when someone was anointed he was ceremonially and publicly set apart for a special purpose.  Oil was poured upon the person’s head as we read in Exodus 29:7.  “Then shalt thou take the anointing oil, and pour it upon his head, and anoint him.”

Then it says that the believer is sealed by the Holy Spirit.  We read about that again in Ephesians 1:13.  “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise,” This isn’t a seal that we can see.  In biblical symbolism, it signifies three things. (1) a finished transaction. (Jeremiah 32:9-10) (2). ownership (Jeremiah 32:11) and (3) security (Daniel 6:17).

Then it says he is given the “earnest of the Spirit.” The Greek word “earnest” was something like a down payment; a pledge.  In Argentina, when we agreed to buy a house, we had to make a down payment.  When all the paper work was done and the title to the property was in our name, we had to be ready to finish paying for it.  If, for some reason, we repented and decided not to buy the property, we would lose the down payment we made.  Therefore, the earnest made the transaction binding.  The manifestation of the Holy Spirit is given to the obedient believer.  Acts 1:8 says, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth

We read about Man’s part in confirmation, in Acts 14:21-22. It is best understood as a teaching ministry.  New believers need to be taught the basic truths of Bible doctrine and Christian living.  That is often done on a one on one basis.  If new believers sincerely want to learn, they will be faithful in church attendance.  Even so, they are greatly helped if a mature believer spends time with them the first few weeks, answering their questions and helping them learn how to use the Bible to guide them.  This serves to confirm them in their faith.

What, in the minds of many, constitutes confirmation is an invention of men.  It has no biblical basis.  In the Bible, confirmation has no relationship with baptism.  New believers should be baptized, but that doesn’t add anything to their salvation. (See the article on baptism under Bible doctrine.)







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