For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end. (Hebrews 3:14—NIV)

We hear a lot about this thing called "consumer confidence" in the business world. It defines itself as a measure of the health of the economy based upon the general sense of financial well-being of the population and the likelihood that people will go out and spend. Banks, businesses, and government watch these numbers in order to plan their moves accordingly. Their hope is that we will feel good and buy regardless of the reality of our situations. Such consumer confidence is good for government and business in the short run.

This consumer confidence number is not based upon rational, real numbers because it seeks to measure how "confident" people are about the certainty of their jobs being there tomorrow and how bright and rosy they think their future looks. It is like taking a poll of a classroom of students about ready to take a test. Some have real confidence because they have studied hard, invested the time, grasped the material and with head held high they sit ready with sharpened pencils. A few spent their yesterday playing their heart out in sports and briefly "looked over" the material. Others have sat in class daydreaming out of boredom and generally think they know it all (maybe they do and maybe they don’t). Certainly there are some who think they know what they don’t know. Of course, there will always be some who slept on the book and believe that knowledge has seeped through and it will come to them when they need it. The class is brimming with confidence!

Do not be surprised that this kind of confidence measure is foreign to thinking biblically. If you approach our text with a flexible, fluid definition of confidence you will fail to grasp the life-changing message.

The Greek word translated confidence means "that which stands or is set under (like a foundation)." It can be translated with such words as "title-deed, substance, grant or hope of a thing given and possessed." This "confidence" is "evidence of ownership." Because of the believer’s confident ownership he is led to endure and undertake like a diligent student prepared and eager to take the test expecting to make the grade.

No other form of "confidence" is acceptable in Scripture, as illustrated by its use in Hebrews 1:3, "(Jesus) being the brightness of His glory and the express image (faithful etching) of His person (substance, confidence, foundation, essence of God) and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high." Jesus is the exact representation of the nature and substance of God. Biblically, confidence cannot be divorced from reality.

Take notice of other places God uses the word "confidence." Proverbs 3:26 says, "For the Lord will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from being caught" and 14:26 & 27 says, "In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, and His children will have a place of refuge. The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, to turn one away from the snares of death." In all of your life let your confidence be based upon fact.

There is no room for a "hope so" salvation. What "grade" are you bound to receive on the great "test" of life. Have you persevered knowing test day is coming? Do you live confident of real approval from God? Trust and obey.