When the title of this post first came across my mind, I wasn’t sure about it. The statement seemed to indicate that speaking faith-based confessions can be ineffective, and that faith has its limits. I answer the circumstances in my life with the words of God all the time, so my issue was not with the idea of faith confessions. My issue was with the “writing a check your faith can’t cash” bit. Hmm, faith is so powerful how can it come up short?
When thoughts come to my mind that I’m not sure about, I evaluate them based on what I know about God, His Word, and the subject. I ask myself, did Jesus exhibit the type of behavior the statement describes? Did Jesus provide an example of the behavior for us to follow? Is there a commandment/directive for or against it? Did the Apostles exhibit the behavior or teach for or against it? Does it line up with God and Jesus’ character? Is it good, lovely or virtuous at its core?
So, let’s evaluate the statement together. At its core, the statement is speaking of the dangers of parroting, confessing the word by rote, or off the top of your head, where there is not heart engagement.
Now certainly, speaking the word of God is better than speaking the problem, sickness, death, or destruction over yourself or your problem. However, what is the source of the words you’re confessing? Are you being prompted to repeat after someone? Are you speaking out of fear, desperation, or wishing? Faith confessions, to me, are speaking God’s word to your circumstances so that the will of God can be done, bringing about change. The word of God is confessed based on faith not only in the One who provides but also in the words spoken out of your own mouth. Faith confessions are declarations of faith or trust in someone or something. When you make faith confessions, you are simply declaring your faith.
But, what does the word of God say about faith confessions? Are faith confessions scriptural? Is there a record of Jesus making faith confessions? Did Jesus provide an example of the behavior for us to follow? Is there a commandment/directive for or against it? Did the Apostles exhibit the behavior or teach for or against it? Does it line up with God and Jesus’ character? Is it good, lovely or virtuous at its core?
Mark 11:12-14 provides an example of Jesus making a faith confession. Let’s use the Complete Jewish Bible. 12 The next day, as they came back from Beit-Anyah, he [Jesus] felt hungry. 13 Spotting in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came up to it, he found nothing but leaves; for it wasn’t fig season. 14 He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” And his [disciples] heard what he said.
20 In the morning, as the [disciples] passed by, they saw the fig tree withered all the way to its roots. 21 Kefa remembered and said to Yeshua, “Rabbi! Look! The fig tree that you cursed has dried up!” 22 He responded, “Have the kind of trust that comes from God! 23 Yes! I tell you that whoever does not doubt in his heart but trusts that what he says will happen can say to this mountain, ‘Go and throw yourself into the sea!’ and it will be done for him. (Mark 11:20-23)
King James and Young’s Literal translations say that Jesus answered the circumstance of not finding figs on the tree by speaking to it. In response to the circumstances of no figs on a fig tree when he was hungry, Jesus spoke to the fig tree and told it that no one would ever eat from it again. After making the statement directly to the tree, Jesus continued to where he was going. The result of the statement he made directly to the tree was that the tree dried up from the roots. When Peter mentioned it, Jesus taught his disciples to have the same kind of trust that comes from God, the same kind of trust in his word that God has. Several scriptures describe God’s trust in his words coming to pass or as Isaiah describes it in 55:11, It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it (NLT).
So, we see Jesus declared the end result to the tree, and what he declared happened. He made a declaration in faith, and it came to pass. The idea that faith declarations could or should only be done by Jesus is untrue because as we’ve seen, he taught his disciples to do the same. Then are faith confessions only for the disciples to do?
Let’s look at Romans 10:5-10. 5 For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, “The man who does those things shall live by them.” 6 But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ down from above) 7 or, “ ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Verses 9 and 10 are well known. These scriptures are used to lead people to the Lord. However, faith confessions do not only apply to declaring Jesus Lord in order to receive salvation. Notice verse six says that the righteousness of faith speaks, and it speaks in certain ways. The righteousness of faith speaks words that are near, that are in the mouth, and in the heart.
13 The Tanakh [Hebrew Bible] says, “I trusted, therefore I spoke.” Since we have that same Spirit who enables us to trust, we also trust and therefore speak; (2 Corinthians 4:13, CJB). Confessions are a declaration of faith. It is a declarative statement of what you know to be a fact, based on your faith in what God has said. When the word of God is believed, it is to be spoken out, declared in the face of contradictory circumstances.
Lastly, and most importantly, Jesus administers our confessions as High Priest. 1 Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus, (Hebrews 3:1, NKJV)
So far, we’ve confirmed that faith should be confessed. However, it doesn’t work backward. Confessions without faith are empty words. I know of too many people who speak words of wishes over their circumstances. There has to be power behind the words you’re confessing. God and his word that is believed and trusted to be true, must be the source. Mark 12:34-37 provides further insight. 34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. 36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
According to the scriptures we’ve read, the key to faith confessions affecting change in circumstances is to say them without any doubt in your heart about what you’ve said. When confessions are spoken out, they must be believed based on trust in the God who made the promise in the first place.
So, does our original statement pass the test? Yes, it is true. Just as faith without works is dead, faith confessions made without the corresponding faith are just as empty and dead. Therefore, don’t let your confessions write a check your faith can’t cash. Build up your faith in the promises and provisions of God, and then speak words filled with power!