Why Men Cannot Believe in Christ
John 5:44
How can you believe, which receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that comes from God only?


1. The mere fact of receiving honour, even if that honour be rightly rendered, may make faith a difficulty. He is in danger of being elevated above the conviction of sin and of the necessity of salvation.

2. It is still more perilous if, receiving honour, we come to expect it. Those who do are not in the condition which renders it easy to say, "God be merciful to me, a sinner."

3. The Pharisees received honour, but it was quite undeserved. They extolled one another for ostentatious religiousness, whereas they devoured widows' houses, etc. If a man has a fine character and doesn't deserve it, and allows it to go on, how can he believe in Christ whose light shows him in his true colours? How can the man who has lived in the dark love the light?

4. Always receiving this honour, they deceived themselves into believing that they deserved it. The deluded becomes self-deluded, and when the smoke of incense makes their eyes dim with self-conceit, it is not at all marvellous that they cannot believe in Christ.

5. The praise of men generally turns the receivers into great cowards. To believe in Jesus is to forfeit that. Men would no longer salute them as Rabbi, but turn them out of the synagogue. So a good many now cannot believe because they are afraid. The commercial traveller would be exposed to the chaff of the commercial room; the working man to the coarse remarks of the workshop. Some are afraid of the boon companions whom they have led. How many live on the breath of their fellow men!


1. Some are unable to believe because they have a very high opinion of themselves. They have never done anything amiss, or have good hearts at bottom.

2. In many cases there is a strong aversion to confession of sin and to approach to God.

3. In others the hindrance is indolence.

4. Many are too fond of pleasure to believe in Christ.

5. Habitual or occasional sin.

6. Love of gain.

7. An unforgiving temper; — all impede faith in Christ. But they all aggravate the sin. Dare you plead them before God?

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?

WEB: How can you believe, who receive glory from one another, and you don't seek the glory that comes from the only God?

Undue Regard to Reputation a Source of Unbelief
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