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

Healthy confidence is a supreme blessing. When someone lacks confidence, he lacks courage and grows disheartened. Some people have a self-confidence level which is off the charts but, upon closer examination, they are found lacking good reason for such confidence because there is no foundation for it. Their failure will make itself evident in due time. The quality of confidence must always be judged by the quality of the ground on which it stands.

I am not one who enjoys heights. I prefer having my feet on terra firma! If I must climb a ladder, then I prefer level ground for the stability of the ladder, and certainly nothing spongy, please. Even better, I would prefer that I have a hefty helper to vigilantly anchor the ladder and not let go until I am out of the danger zone! Without such a solid foundation my confidence is shaky.

The Greek word for confidence in our text is hupostasis. It is a compound of “to stand” and “under.” The word signifies a foundation, or that which stands under. It is also related to the idea of taking up a task by standing under it, or as you may have heard someone say, “I will undertake this project.” It is the quality of high confidence which leads someone to “stand under” and endure.

If you have studied the book of Hebrews to any depth you know this Greek word from Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hupostasis is translated substance in this verse. It is reminiscent of a title, a deed showing ownership of property, like ownership of land or a safe deposit box. Faith, (receiving as totally trustworthy what God has revealed in His Word) is confident conviction of trust in God’s gift of life for eternity.

Hupostasis also appears at the very beginning of the book of Hebrews in reference to Jesus Christ Himself. Hebrews 1:3 reads, “Who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, 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.” Our word is translated “person” in this verse. Jesus Christ is described as the “out-raying” of the glory of God, the Father, and He is further described in His being as the “express image,” or as an exact copy of the hupostasis of the Father. In other words, that “which stands under,” the very character and nature of God, His essence. Jesus Christ is fully God, one in essence with the Father.

With these two other uses of the word in mind, you can easily see that confidence must always be anchored in the integrity of its foundation. Now we are ready to tackle the meaning of our verse. The author of Hebrews was writing to first century Jews who had claimed to have come to a saving knowledge in Christ but now they are signaling they are turning back. The author is telling them that if they turn back, it is a sign that they really never were born again. Chapter 3 is not occupied with the question “of the retention of salvation based upon a persistence of faith, but of the possession of salvation as evidenced by a continuation of faith” (Wuest’s Word Studies).

Hebrews 3:6 provides the background context as it states, “But Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence [bold, free speech] and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.” Authentic believers are possessed by Christ (“His own house”) in salvation and it is this possessing that verse 14 indicates every believer co-possess with Him (partakers means “to hold with” or fellow-possessor). When faith becomes more than an intellectual exercise by being an all-encompassing immersion in Christ, then it will confidently endure to the end because it is founded upon the trustworthiness of the Possessor, Jesus Christ Himself. He is able to keep that which is “committed unto Him until that day” (2 Timothy 1:12).

Confidence (that which stands under) in anything else but the person of Jesus Christ and His work is like a rickety ladder placed upon quicksand! Rely only on Him, steadfast, all the way out to the end. Trust and obey.