Last week I preached through John 12:36-50 and made some pretty emphatic points. While I feel I brought out the main objective of the passage, I regret to say that I over-emphasized a portion of the text without taking the time to fully expose a key truth.
John 12:42 “Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.”
Where I fell short was in my exegesis (study) of the word “Believe”. Even though the word means “place faith in / or trust in” the same word is used to describe how the demons “believe” in Jesus and tremble. (James 2:19) So in this case I should not have made such an empathic claim that these authorities were saved solely based upon that one word. Rather I should have seen the entire context and allowed it to develop the interpretation of their belief.
Bottom line is that we see the authorities acting lame and wack. They wanted to remain in their clique and not become a social outcast by confessing that they were all in with Jesus. Thus asserting that they were living in sin. (1 John 4:3) Romans 10 makes it plain that verbal confession is a sign of sincere faith. When you truly believe something and stand behind it, you naturally talk about it. You desire to reveal what excites you to others. Where these authorities truly saved? Maybe, maybe not. What we do know is that they were definitely not living like they believed. So unlike Nicodemus and Peter who we see acting out true belief, these must be judged as unbelievers. Even though they “believed”, it MUST be lived out in action to be authentic. (James 2:14-26)
Please forgive me for my lack of study. I am broken and humbly thank you for considering my thoughts and appreciate your long-suffering as I grow as a Pastor / Teacher. I am not perfect but do take this call VERY seriously. I love you all and serve you for Jesus’ glory. Stay stoked in Him and live out loud for the Gospel.