To profess something is to declare it openly. Usually the term "profession of faith" refers to a public declaration of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord. This profession showcases a person's intention to follow Christ in all their ways. Romans 10:9–10 says: "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." A public declaration, or confession, of faith is an excellent way to demonstrate the intention of one's heart. Walking out that faith always requires concrete action steps.
One common way to publicly profess faith in Christ is through water baptism. Baptism in and of itself is not a ritual which guarantees salvation (John 6:63). Rather, baptism showcases outwardly the work of the Holy Spirit inwardly. It is a way to profess our faith in and allegiance to Jesus Christ as Lord.
Faith in the heart always needs to be accompanied by action. The apostle James says that faith is dead unless it is accompanied by works (James 2:17, 26). You can say you believe in something, but those are just words until you back them up with your actions. Even demons acknowledge that Jesus is Lord, but that doesn't make them saved or surrendered to Him (James 2:19). Early church Christians in Rome were persecuted when they professed faith in Christ. Their profession was met with the need for extreme action, requiring faithfulness to Christ sometimes to the point of death (Acts 2:1–41; 4:1–4; 8:1–3).
Abraham's faith was put to the test: "Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, 'Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness'—and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone" (James 2:21–24). The entirety of Hebrews 11 details multiple examples of believers whose faith required action.
While an outward profession of faith is important, as are actions of faith, these are not what save us (Matthew 7:21–23). We are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8–9). We must repent of our sins (Mark 6:12; Acts 2:38; 26:20) and be born again (John 3:3). When we confess our sins and place our faith in Christ, the Holy Spirit indwells us and transforms our hearts (Ephesians 1:13–14; Galatians 5:16; Romans 8:29–30). As we submit to the Holy Spirit's work in us, our own desires and perspectives begin to shift into alignment with the Word of God. We lay down our fleshly self daily for the sake of Christ (Luke 9:23; Galatians 2:20).
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