The Secret Believer In The Gospel Of John -- By: Bob Bryant

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 27:53 (Autumn 2014)
Article: The Secret Believer In The Gospel Of John
Author: Bob Bryant


The Secret Believer In The Gospel Of John1

Bob Bryant

Cypress Valley Bible Church
Marshall, TX

I. Introduction

There has long been widespread teaching that public profession of Christ as savior and lord is a condition that one must meet in order to gain eternal salvation.2 Many (if not most) who hold this view appeal to Romans 10:9-10 for support while they, at the same time, overlook the Gospel of John. This is unfortunate since the Gospel of John has much to say about this matter. Specifically, John tells us that there are secret believers who have everlasting life. He tells us that, while there are consequences for not confessing Christ publicly, this secrecy has nothing to do with the condition one must meet to gain everlasting life, which is to simply believe in Jesus for it.

The purpose of this work is to attempt to point out and explain what John presents on this matter. It is hoped that the reader will not only embrace what John teaches, but also be led to reevaluate what Paul is saying in Romans 10:9-10 as well as

other passages that might be used to support the “confession for eternal salvation” view.3

II. The Believers In John 2:23-25

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. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men. And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man (John 2:23-25).

Most commentators assume that the faith of the individuals in this passage falls short of true saving faith.4 The main reason for this assumption is that Jesus did not “entrust” Himself to them. However, the statement made in v 23—that many believed in His name (polloi episteusan eis to onoma autou) is hard to view as anything but a reference to saving faith. The meaning of that statement must be examined along with what John meant when he said that Jesus did not entrust Himself to them. This passage is also relevant because Nicodemus is included in this group and is described as a secret believer later in John (19:38-40).

In John 20:30-31, John sta...

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