An Untrusted Faith

crop unrecognizable loving couple touching hands against bright sunset

“Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did.  24 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, 25 And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man” (John 2:24-25).

It is a gospel truth that Jesus has no faith in the faith of some men. Many believe in Jesus though He has no belief in them, because He knows the hearts of all men. The warning goes forth that there is a faith of which Jesus will not approve or validate, just as there is a form of repentance that needs to be repented of.

In the narrative of John 2:23-25, Jesus exercised discrimination, made a disqualification, and told of the distinction by which He will close with those who truly believe in Him. Jesus drew men to Himself by His words and miracles in order to divide them. He wins people to a point where they hear His message, and then winnows them, separating the spiritual chaff from the wheat.

As Jesus is lifted up, He draws all men to Himself, but from that exalted position He judges those beneath Him. Some who were drawn to the Cross mocked, while others wept. No one who comes to Jesus can remain neutral, or insincere. When a person comes into the presence of Jesus, the content of their character, and the intent of their heart is made manifest.

It was so in Jerusalem. Many believed in His name, but only in as far as they saw the miracles which He did. But they did not commit the totality of their hearts to His eternal care. Jesus was discriminating enough to recognize what was happening. Elsewhere Jesus said, “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the King of Heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21-23).

Jesus discriminates between authentic faith, and insincere faith. There is the faith of Judas, and there is the faith of John, whom Jesus loved. Those who are the recipients of the Lord’s special love bow in gratitude knowing He loved them, despite all their faults, before they ever loved Him.

We note again the untrusted faith of Jesus in His work of discrimination. The untrusted faith is the kind of faith that will not believe unless it sees a sign or a wonder. At Calvary there were those who said, “If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him” (Matt. 27:42). To such people Jesus say, “Go away. I do not trust your faith. You are not sincere. You are only curious.”

There is the untrusted faith of religious emotion which masks unbelief. The gospel can be presented in such as way as to elicit compassion for the humiliation of Jesus. The Sermon on the Mount is beautiful in its eloquence. No man every spoke like Jesus. However, a faith built upon emotion cannot be trusted. Such a person is blown about by every doctrinal wind. It has no root.

There is the untrusted faith which will not submit to God. A prayer is offered and, if the Lord does not answer in an anticipated way, His goodness is questioned. His power is cast into doubt. Such a faith is untrustworthy because it is unsound. It is a faith that believes in God only as far as He remains a puppet on a string to comply with self-centered prayers.

The untrusted faith does not bow to God and say, as Jesus did, “Nevertheless, not my will but thine be done.” To such a faith Jesus does not respond, and the heaven’s become as brass.

There is the untrusted faith of subjectivity. Many believed on the name of Jesus when they saw the signs. Such faith is untrustworthy because it is a subjective faith whereby a soul sits in judgment to say, “I will see what this Man can do, and then I will make a final decision to believe in Him.”

True faith begins when the conscience is convicted of sin and a person gets a true sight of themselves in the eyes of God.

True faith continues to express itself in penitence. Two men went up to the temple to pray. One cried out, “God! Be merciful to me the sinner!” He went home justified. The other man went home dignified for he saw himself a good person with no need to repent of anything.

Truth faith flourishes when it believes that Christ, and Christ alone can rescue the soul from the power and corruption of sin. Faith believes that Jesus helps sinners.

True faith continues when the soul can sing,

“Christ is all I need,
Christ is all I need,
Christ is all that I need.”

To such a faith, Christ will respond. Such a faith is simple. It does not need to manifest itself with unintelligent utterances, bodily contortions, hysterical screaming, or shameful and immodest acts of exhibition in worship. Such a subjective experience is not honoring to God but is of the flesh. It comes from beneath, not from above.

Beware of those who come as an angel of light to teach that the evidence of faith, and the fulness of the Spirit, is to engage in behavior that makes the angels weep. Such faith is untrustworthy.

There is a faith which Jesus will respond to. There is a faith which Jesus will commit Himself to for we read that which the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy saying, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day” (2 Tim. 1:12). Then Paul goes on to say, “Timothy, hold fast, keep that which has been committed unto you.”

To commit means to trust. Jesus will commit, or entrust Himself to those who love Him, believe in Him, and linger to fellowship with Him. “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (Rev. 3:20). Jesus commits Himself as a brother will trust a brother, or a friend will trust a friend. There came a time when Jesus could say to His disciples, “Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you” (John 15:15). The disciples of Christ could be trusted.  

Christ commits to those He trusts His reputation. We are be like Jesus in our love, our grace, our speech, and our mercy and forgiveness. Take the Name of Jesus with you.

Christ commits to those He trust His message. We are to go and make disciples.

Christ commits to those He trust His Word. No Scripture is to be of any private interpretation. There is the faith delivered to the Church which must be contended for (Jude 3).

Christ commits to those He trust the work or reconciliation in order to pluck individuals as brands from the burning.

It is a high calling to be trusted by Jesus.  The question arises, “Has the Lord committed Himself to you?” Examine yourself on this matter by answering the following questions.

“Do you have a desire to love others?”

“Do you have a zeal for holiness?”

“Do you long to see souls saved?”

“Do you want to be fundamentally and forever different?”

“Do you refuse to ask for a sign before you believe?”

“Do you reject every subjective expression of religious exhibitionism?”

“Do you want to preach the gospel?”

If the answer is yes to each inquiry, then rejoice! Christ has committed Himself to you. You have faith that can be trusted.  

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