We hear much talk from professing Christians about one not being able to discern the salvation of another; but these same people tell us we should have fellowship with the saints, and ought not fellowship with those who are not saints. We also live in a time when there are as many lost people inside the church as outside it, so if we are ever going to have fellowship with the saints but we are told not to discern who are saints and who are not saints, what is a Christian to do?
First off, this lack of discernment is a quality of the lost, they simply ‘cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand’ and though they profess Christ they want to bring you into the same predicament they are in. With lack of leading of the Spirit, they willingly and openly ‘justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!’ This wrong judgment is not made in every case for then they would have perfect judgment, even though it would be perfectly wrong! But for the most part due to their lack of leading of the Spirit of God these professing Christians are not able to tell the difference between those who are in Christ and those who are not.
As a whole, the saints are meant to know who are their brethren and who are not. Not having perfect attention to the Spirit, we also may not have perfect judgment in this regard, and in such cases it may be better to refrain from judgment. To believe someone is saved when they are not, and to believe someone is not saved when they actually are, makes one ‘abomination to the Lord’ (Prov 17:15). In these cases we know that we are to’ judge righteous judgment’, and it requires more than a carnal man can do. Many people think a saint is discerned by practical holiness, yet because this holiness is imitated so well by lost (Matt 19:18-20) is that where we are to look? No. The Bible gives evidence that a saved person can and has committed nearly any sin that a lost person can. Are we to look at the profession? No, mere professions are vain. With so many bruised reeds and smoking flaxes among the saints, where and in what manner are we to look for them?
Mal 3:18 Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.