“Give people the benefit of the doubt.” I’m sure we all have both heard and used that phrase at some point in our lives and in most cases it really is good advice. It’s a good thing to be able to accept what people tell us without having an overly critical or judgmental spirit so as to never take people at face value. Of course we want to exercise wisdom and discernment but also don’t want to distrust everything that people tell us.
However, when it comes to the Lord, it’s a whole different ballgame. Why? Because, He is omniscient. He is all-knowing, including down to the deepest recesses of our hearts. In fact, He knows us far more than we know ourselves. That leads us to our reading today in John 2. As a result of the miracles we see Jesus doing, verse 23 says, “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.” Now if that was where the chapter ended, we would think how wonderful it was that these people believed on Him for salvation. People were getting saved, right? Amen! Well lets read all of verse 24: “But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men.”
Wow, well that verse sure throws a monkey wrench into our common way of thinking, doesn’t it? Verse 23 says they believed in Him but verse 24 says that Jesus wouldn’t commit themselves unto them. Now it makes no sense that Jesus wouldn’t commit Himself to true believers, true children of God. So we must deduce that these people who Jesus wouldn’t commit Himself to were false professors. People who expressed some level of belief in Jesus as the Christ but their profession was not genuine; therefore Jesus would not commit or entrust Himself to them.
Truly the application of this passage exists still to this day. Multitudes by the thousands and hundreds of thousands in the U.S today will give testimony of having “prayed the sinner’s prayer” yet they lack genuine salvation. They have a “place and time” at some point in their lives but years and decades of time go by without any evidence of a regenerated lives. Perhaps their empty prayer was based on a lack of real understanding or perhaps improper motives. Either way, they are empty professors, the same type that Jesus would not commit Himself to in John 2. So while we don’t want to walk around doubting everyone’s salvation, we also want to be careful not to deem everyone who names the name of Christ as genuine believers. After all, only God can see the heart!