And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.
1 John 2:28
In reading the New Testament, it is clear that there is room for confidence in the life of the Christian. Let’s see what is said as we consider the Greek word parrēsia, meaning ‘confidence’ or ‘boldness’.
Parrēsia is used in the Book of Acts when describing how audacious the early believers were in their testimony to the message about Christ, and yet, this was not a characteristic that could be explained as something natural. That conclusion can be made by considering the response of the Jewish Council as they listened to Peter and John explaining about Jesus Christ: “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished.” (Acts 4:13). This confidence came from God, as is clear from the description of Luke, the author of the Book of Acts, as he recounted what happened after Peter and John returned to their fellow believers: “And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31).
When speaking about prayer, the Hebrews are encouraged to venture confidently in prayer: “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). Again, the Apostle John tries to hearten his readers about having an answer to prayer by saying: “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us” (1 John 5:14).
Confidence is also something that the one who abides in Christ can have on the second coming of Christ and even in the Day of Judgement: “And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming” (1 John 2:28; see also 1 John 4:17).
We close with the words of the author of the letter to the Hebrews: “Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward” (Hebrews 10:35). This is an exhortation not to give up professing the faith in the face of difficulties. Indeed, we must hold fast to that which is the foundation of the believer’s confidence.
Iwan Rhys Jones, ‘Hyder’ [Confidence], a chapter from the book Geiriau Bywyd [Words of Life] published by EMW in 2017.