“Why must I be confirmed? There is no biblical command to do so,” say many Christians to me.
And they are right. There is no explicit instruction from our Lord or the Apostles to be “confirmed”. We are
only commanded to be baptised and to partake of the Holy Communion regularly. These are the two
Sacraments (holy rites that bring about God’s grace in our lives) that we, Christ’s church, are commanded
Yet, that is to misunderstand what the practice of Confirmation truly is.
Confirmation is about the leaders of the church praying for the indwelling, filling and sealing of the
Holy Spirit in every Christian’s life. This is so important that Jesus emphasised to his disciples the coming
of the Spirit before he ascended to God. He would send them the Holy Spirit to teach them more of the faith
(John 15:26). The disciples’ lives and witness would be dramatically transformed when they were filled with
the Spirit (see the book of Acts). All of this is in fulfilment of the Old Testament prophecies that the Holy Spirit
will be poured out on the believers (Ezekiel 36:25–27; Joel 3:1–2).
So, to signify its importance, Jesus breathed upon the disciples and they received the Holy Spirit after his
resurrection (John 20:22). Thereafter, the apostles continued this practice by laying their hands on
believers to bestow the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:4–20 and 19:1–7, Hebrews 6:1–6). We continue with
this practice in our Anglican Church by having a Bishop lay hands on each believer during Confirmation.
Secondly, Confirmation is the means by which we welcome believers into membership of the Anglican
Church. And only members admitted through Confirmation may partake of the Holy Communion.
The Canons of the Province of South East Asia states in 10.1.1:
There shall be admitted to the Holy Communion: members of the Anglican Church in the Province of South
East Asia who have been confirmed or who have been otherwise episcopally confirmed with unction or
with the laying of hands.
I have had to gently remind some of our members to wait till they are confirmed to receive the Holy
Communion. In the meantime, I would pray a blessing for them when they come forward during Communion.
Good things are always worth the wait!
Lastly, Confirmation also provides an opportunity for those who were baptised as infants to declare their
personal faith in God.
Many have approached me to want to be baptised again as an adult even though they have been baptised
as an infant. While I understand their wish to make a decision for themselves and to declare their
commitment to Christ to the world, we do not baptise any person twice because there is only one baptism
(Ephesians 4:5). (Re-baptism is allowed only if the first baptism in invalid). Hence, Confirmation provides
the place for these believers to reaffirm their faith in Christ and to own the faith for themselves. It then
becomes very powerful and meaningful for them.
As you can see, Confirmation is therefore very significant, biblical in nature and full of meaning and
purpose. Those who are getting confirmed in the Confirmation Service are blessed by God in a very
wonderful way. Let us all be similarly encouraged at this Sunday’s Confirmation Service to live in
dependence on the leading and power of the Holy Spirit in our lives.