The Nature and Advantages of the Believer's Confidence
Hebrews 3:3-6
For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who has built the house has more honor than the house.…

I. ON WHAT THE STRENGTH AND PERMANENCY OF THIS FEELING OF CONFIDENCE DEPENDS, It depends on a continued realisation of the Lord Jesus Christ, the great object of our faith, and an enlargement of our views concerning His glory and excellency. No desire or resoluteness on our part to retain the sentiment of confidence will avail, without presentation to the mind of the object by which it is excited (see vers. 1, 2). In the construction of this sentence, as well as in what follows, it is remarkable how the inspired writer always keeps in view the connection of those whom he addresses with Him of whom He speaks. Is He an Apostle or High Priest? — it is "of our profession." Is He a Son over His own house? — it is added, "whose house are we." This appropriation of Him to us gives us a peculiar interest in all that is said of Him.

II. THE ADVANTAGES OF THIS FEELING OF CONFIDENCE AS PROMOTING THE MORAL GOOD OF THE SOUR. Whilst the great question of our peace with God remains undecided, the prevailing motive under which any religious effort can be put forth is fear; itself not the legitimate motive, but leagued as it must be with the paralysing influence of uncertainty on so momentous a concern, it can have no steady or permanent efficacy in producing efforts for good. Therefore, the apostle says, "Ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but the spirit of adoption." Unquestionably a spirit of fear is not a spirit of power; and those moralists who expect great results by exciting fear in the minds of men must be disappointed; it is as if a general should expect to achieve a great victory by filling the minds of his soldiers with fear when entering on the contest. We know how easy, and in many cases how successful, an enterprise is made by having the mind supported by confidence in matters of this world; the same principle holds in religion, that a spirit of confidence in God is a spirit of power for enduring and accomplishing what His holy will requires. There is, no doubt, a material difference between the confidence of the men ,,f this world, connected as it is with high self-estimation, and leading to presumption and insolence which often defeat itself, and that confidence of the believer in God, which is connected with the lowest estimate of himself, and with the most entire meekness and humiliation of spirit, and which is seen, as often exercised in the patient endurance of reproaches and trials, as in the strenuousness of the soul for religious objects. But as human nature is constituted, peace of mind, with the hope of support, and enterprise, and success from God, all entering into the idea of a believer's confidence, give him a spirit of power in the great undertaking of his soul's salvation, by which he pursues a resistless course, utterly unknown to minds under the vacillating influence of uncertainty and fear — difficulties yield, and enemies are repelled before him; and there is a moral influence and dignity in his character to which the consciences of others give the secret homage due to power. But the main strength of the feeling of confidence towards God which faith begets consists in its exciting love to God, which is the great legitimate principle of moral obedience. Farther, the effect upon the understanding is no less striking or deserving of notice in forming an estimate of the moral efficacy of believing confidence in the truth of God. The apostle says that God hath given us "the spirit of a sound mind," by which we are certainly to understand a greater degree of rationality, and of the influence of our reason on our heart and habits. It is easy to account for uncultivated men becoming intellectual, by having their minds strongly excited by the weight of an eternal interest to study, and reason from day to night upon the most profound of all subjects. And it is no less easy to determine why intellectual irreligious men cannot reason soundly upon religion — they have not been impelled to inquiry by the same pressure; they have not learned the views nor imbibed the principles which would enable them to reason, either with sense or safety, on this momentous subject. It is not the mere exercise of the understanding, but the nature of the subjects about which it is conversant, that gives it force as a moral engine, the greatest metaphysician may be completely outdone in judging of matters of common life by a man of plain common sense, and in matters connected with the soul's salvation his judgment may be completely outdone by a plain Bible Christian. But even when the mind has been employed with the utmost attention on the truth, and comes to its conclusions, their efficacy is small and unabiding until the confidence of faith in the Divine testimony becomes a fixed sentiment in the mind. A conclusion depending on a process of reasoning may strongly impress us whilst we retain the recollection of the process by which we arrived at it; but when that is lost, its impression is weak, and utterly fails before an opposing temptation. How often is it the case with men that they feel little confidence in their own conclusions, however legitimately they may appear to have arrived at them, unless they are fortified by the concurring opinions of those who are reputed wise. This observation leads to the conclusion to which we desire you to come on this subject — that it is not the mere cultivation of the faculty of reason, nor its exercise on the appropriate subjects, that give it real force and steadiness for habitually influencing our moral character, but the distinct apprehension of the Divine testimony concurring with and sanctioning the different positions to which the mind has assented. Reason and faith in the Christian are closely allied in that exercise, for though the Christian must, on the testimony of God, receive some things as true which are above the comprehension of his reason in the present state, God does not propose to him what is contrary to it; and in the peculiar points, the faith of which is essential to salvation, God leads the human mind to an understanding of that which He requires it to believe.

III. THE INFLUENCE THIS CONFIDENCE HAS ON HAPPINESS. In its lowest degree it produces a repose of the soul, to which the gay and thought. less of this world are utter strangers. It is equally obvious that the state of mind in which it possesses energy to pursue the dictates of the higher faculties, wherein it is exempted from the control of degrading passions, and especially has its leading affection its chief desire, toward that great Source of all good, to which, by its original relations, it was allied, and for enjoying which its capacities were framed, must be the happiest state of the soul; and that all apparent happiness, in a different state, is as delusive in its nature as it is transitory in its duration. Recourse to God, considered in itself, is at all times an unfailing source of joy to the soul that has confidence in Him. It is inward, and independent of outward combinations, which he could not command; it accords with stillness and retirement, which are so irksome to the children of pleasure; it purifies and ennobles the soul; nor is there in it, when rightly understood, the least vestige of delusiveness or enthusiasm; for, though not depending upon sense, or carried on through its medium, its evidence of reality is quite as satisfactory. He whose soul goes out in confidence to God knows God's existence — His attention to his desires — His approbation of the confidence which the soul cherishes in Him from the testimony of His written Word — of that Record of Truth which will survive and prove its reality when all the objects of time and sense shall have passed away for ever.

(Donald Fraser, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house.

WEB: For he has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who built the house has more honor than the house.

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