The Real Evidence Of Our Sincerity
What is your first impression of these stories?
A young man explains that he places great importance on his health and that he wants to have clear, strong lungs. He is a habitual smoker. A lady speaks strongly about her commitment to her husband, while she is involved with another man. A member of a local church says that he would love to know more of the Word of God, but he spends several hours a day watching the television.
What do these stories have in common? Just this: Sometimes what we claim verbally, we deny in our behavior. We may say what we think people expect to hear from us, but without sincerity of heart. It could be, we are trying to convince others (and ourselves) that we are better than we really are. The words that we speak seem to send just the right message, but in our daily behavior we betray what we have claimed. The New Testament addresses this issue plainly.
Some who came to John's baptism claimed relationship to Abraham. Indeed there may have been a genealogical connection, but apparently no evidence of kinship with Abraham was apparent in their lives (Matt. 3:9). They claimed something that was not evident in the way they lived.
Likewise, one of the final speeches given by Jesus made the same point. "Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, saying: 'The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do'." (Matt. 23:1-3). There was verbal correctness or soundness, but no observance of correct teaching in their daily lives.
James makes the point well in James 2:18 - "…someone will say, 'You have faith, and I have works.' Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works."
And John - "If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us." (1 Jno. 1:6-10).
The real evidence of our sincerity lies in behavior not claims; in practice not profession; in heart, not just in speech. "They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work," (Titus 1:6).
By Warren E. Berkley
From Expository Files 8.1; January 2001