by Donny Weimar
To please God and neighbor, sincerity is a must. “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” (1 Timothy 1:5.” Only a pure heart can biblically be sincere in faith. Timothy’s sincerity was learned from his grandmother Lois and mother Eunice (2 Timothy 1:5). These were wise women who did a great service for the Lord. Biblical sincerity is pure and peaceable; it is gentile, rational and full of mercy producing good fruits (James 3:17). While this is sound doctrine, is it also possible to be sincere and yet be wrong?
Saul consented to Stephen’s murder “in all good conscience” (Acts 7:54 – 8:1; Acts 22:30-23:1). Scripture says the murderous Jews who threw stones at Stephen laid the preacher’s clothes down at the feet of the young man Saul. “And Saul approved of his execution. And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles” (Acts 8:1). Then in Acts 23:1, the same man who had become an apostle out of due season made a defense. “And looking intently at the council, Paul said, “Brothers, I have lived my life before God in all good conscience up to this day.” Paul/Saul had persecuted Christians in all good and sincere conscience! He was sincere but extremely wrong. Later he would write to Timothy that he considered himself to be the chief of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15).
Another example is the baptism of Apollos’ converts. Apollos taught accurately the truth of God. However, he only knew the baptism of John. In Acts 18:24-28, two Christians by the names Aquila and Priscilla explain the truth to him more accurately. The very next chapter Paul is introduced to some followers of Apollos’ doctrine. When Paul asked them whether they had received the Holy Spirit when they were baptized, they replied “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” (Acts 19:2). When Paul explained John’s, baptism was one of repentance and that the people should believe on Jesus, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus (Acts 19:5). You see, Apollos was sincere but only knew the truth partially. Partial understanding of the Gospel is not enough.
Sincerity is vital to our Christian walk. According to 1 Peter 1:22 sincere brotherly love is what motivates us to obey the truth. “And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall you free” (Jesus, John 8:32). We can make God happy by drawing near to God and asking Him to draw near to us. As our understanding of the Bible increases our sincere faith will grow to. It is liberating to the soul when we express the love of Jesus to those around us. Truth is ascertainable and obeyable. Sometimes we are like the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8 who needed some guidance in understanding the Sacred Writings. It’s okay to say “I don’t know” too. In fact, admitting our shortcomings in biblical knowledge gives us just cause to study those things out. Sincerity from the time we begin our first Bible study until we grow mature in Christ is a life-time process. Think of it this way, achievement is not a goal – it’s the constant pursuit of the goal. High achievers in Christianity never stop learning and growing in the faith once for all delivered.
“Scripture quotations are from the ESV Bible (The English Standard Version©.), copyright © by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”