What Is Confirmation?

Text: Isaiah 12:1-6

In the name of Jesus: Amen.

Perhaps one of the most misunderstood things in the Christian Church is Confirmation. What is Confirmation?  

Well, depending on whom you ask, you are bound to get a lot of different views on Confirmation. For example, many people view Confirmation as a church theological graduation. For them, Confirmation signals a time when parents will no longer have to take an active role in their youth’s Christian faith. And so, while Confirmation Sunday can be a wonderful time, it is also a time of grief for many pastors. You see, what most pastors won’t tell you is that they know that after Confirmation, many confirmands and confirmation families will never be seen in the church ever again. In fact, one statistic states that 60% of confirmation students in the LCMS drop out of the church after they are confirmed, and their parents… they do too. In fact, the parents are probably more to blame for this than the youth. And again, the reason… they are confirmed, they have graduated from church.

Other people see Confirmation as a holy rite – a hoop you must jump through to get to the pearly gates with St. Peter. In other words, if you are baptized, confirmed, and married (check, check, check), then you are good to go. Now, keep in mind that if you ever challenge someone on their thinking over this, get ready to hear the speech that they have rehearsed in their mind a thousand times to justify their actions, 

“You don’t need to go to church to be a Christian. Besides, all the church wants is your money. I do church at home. I read my Bible and say my prayers. I still believe. God and I are good to go. After all, I am spiritual, not religious.”   

So, what is Confirmation, then?  

Perhaps our reading from the Old Testament book of Isaiah answers this best for us when we read, 

“With joy, you will draw water from the wells of salvation.”

In other words, Confirmation is a time in a person’s life when they are to draw deeply from the well of salvation. The idea that the Old Testament is laying forth is that a water well is something that brings life to people. When water is drawn from a well, the water will sustain life, refresh a dry tongue, and revive a dehydrated body. As a result, a water well can bring joy and thankfulness. And so, regarding Confirmation, Confirmation is a time when students freely draw from the well of salvation. Confirmation is nothing more than a good gift of God given to confirmation students. That’s right; Confirmation is a good and perfect gift coming down from the heavenly Father for you confirmands. It is a gift because, during Confirmation, you are taught the Christian faith.  

Abby, Emma, Addie, Lucas, Anya, MicKaine, Collin, and Ramzey, let’s consider this a bit more. You are here because your parents, guardians, and sponsors listened to Jesus. You see, Jesus said to make you into a disciple by baptizing and teaching you. And so, you were all baptized into Christ, which is very good. However, you were also brought to Confirmation here at St. Paul’s to be taught, just as Jesus said. And so, just like millions of young people that came before you, Confirmation has been three years of teaching where you have drawn deeply from the well of salvation above and beyond the regular life of the church. But now that Confirmation is over, does it mean that this gift is over? Does it mean that you no longer need to draw deeply from the well? Of course not! 

Abby, Emma, Addie, Lucas, Anya, MicKaine, Collin, and Ramzey, Confirmation has not been a time where all the water from the well was poured into your mouth so that you would never have to draw the well of salvation again. But instead, Confirmation is a time to instruct you in the Christian faith so that you are prepared to draw from the well of salvation for the rest of your life. In other words, in Confirmation, you were taught the basics of Christian doctrine. You were taught ethics with the Ten Commandments. You were taught our origin in Creation. You were taught humanity’s problem of sin and the Lord’s solution to the problem of sin. 

You were taught about your identity in baptism. You were shown how to have a clean conscience in absolution. And you were instructed how to be strengthened in the faith through the Lord’s Table. You were taught how to pray, how to worship in this church, and how to defend your faith. In a way, Confirmation is a lot like boot camp – basic training. It is a time to get you ready for the years to come.  

So, what comes next?  

Well, today, you are not graduating out of the church to never drink of the well again. But instead, you have been prepared to eat and drink from the Lord’s Table – not just today but for every Sunday until the Lord takes you home either at his coming or at your death. And so, quite literally, you have been prepared through Confirmation to attend 4,550 more divine services. You have been prepared to hear 4,550 more sermons and receive communion another 3,920 times. But be careful right now. This is not a punishment, as some would believe. These are not curses. Instead, just as Confirmation was a good and perfect gift coming down from the heavenly Father, all of these other church services, sermons, and invitations to the Lord’s Super are good and perfect gifts for you as well.  

Abby, Emma, Addie, Lucas, Anya, MicKaine, Collin, and Ramzey, your Lord Jesus called for you to be baptized and taught in order for you to be His disciples. And as His disciples, you are to remain and abide – to draw water from the well of salvation because that is what disciples do. Disciples receive from Jesus and from Him often. And what does Jesus give His disciples? He gives you the forgiveness of sins in a world that is plagued with a guilty conscience. He gives you a sure and certain hope of knowing your identity in a world that is constantly confused, and He gives you truth in a world that is often tied up in lies.  

And so, Abby, Emma, Addie, Lucas, Anya, MicKaine, Collin, and Ramzey, come with the rest of your church family and draw from the well of salvation. Come to the table this day with your church family to receive Christ’s body and blood for the forgiveness of your sins and the strengthening of your faith. And then next week, and the week after that; come and draw from the well of salvation again and again because your Jesus will never stop giving good and perfect gifts to you.  

In the name of Jesus. Amen.

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