What does the Bible say about Christian confirmation?
Question: "What does the Bible say about Christian confirmation?"
Confirmation is defined as a sacrament, a ritual or a service performed by man. In some traditions, generally Catholic and Anglican, the sacrament of confirmation is the ritual by which a young person becomes an official member of the Church. This sometimes includes the bestowal of a “confirmation name,” generally the name of a saint, which is often used as a second middle name. Those who practice confirmation believe it signals the initiation of the baptized into full church membership and a personal, mature acceptance of the faith. Catholics and Anglicans recognize confirmation as one of seven sacraments.
The Bible, however, is silent on the matter of such a ritual. In fact, the idea that a person can “confirm” to another that he/she is in the faith is denied in Scripture. Each individual must determine the state of his/her soul based on several criteria. First, we are confirmed by the Holy Spirit who lives in our hearts. “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children” (Romans 8:16). When we accept Christ as Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in our hearts and gives us assurance that He is present and that we belong to Him, and He also teaches and explains spiritual things to us (1 Corinthians 2:13-14), thereby confirming that we are new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).
We are also confirmed in the faith by the evidence of our salvation. First John 1:5-10 tells us that the evidence of our salvation is manifested in our lives: we walk in the Light, we do not lie, we confess our sin. James 2 makes it clear that the evidence of faith is the works we do. We are not saved by our works, but our works are the evidence of the saving faith in us. Jesus said, “By their fruits you will know them” (Matthew 7:20). The spiritual fruit produced in us by the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22) is the confirmation that He lives within us. Therefore, we are told to “examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5). In addition, Peter tells us to “make your calling and election sure” so that we will “receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:10-11).
The final “confirmation” of our salvation is, of course, in the future. Those who are true Christians, the Bible tells us, will persevere to the end, “eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end” (1 Corinthians 1:7-8 NKJV). We are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, “Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:13-14). This, then, is the true meaning of confirmation—salvation was purchased by the blood of Christ in whom we have faith, it is evidenced by our walk with Him, and it is confirmed to us by the Holy Spirit within.