The Quality of Sincerity
Sincerity is a wonderful quality, certainly one which should never be diminished in its importance. When we observe someone who is not sincere in purpose it is easily recognized that the attempt at achieving their desired goals will probably be short-lived. On the other hand someone who set goals and with great sincerity then sets out to achieve those goals is recognized as a person who can be trusted with a task. It is a fact that people who are trustworthy and sincere in their endeavors are admirable in character.
View point or perspective from which sincerity is examined is also a factor, though as with all things in life there is the horizontal and the vertical view, or stated another way viewed from God’s perspective or ours. While traveling through life we are made subject to the view point of mankind by subjection to all that exists around us – this is the horizontal view point made of what we hear and experience. The horizontal perspective is that which originates from man’s corrupted thought processes when active outside of and apart from God’s wisdom. After we are saved it is always necessary to unlearn, as it were, many things we have learned that originated from corrupted sources. This is a crucial part of growing in the grace of God since all horizontal knowledge is based on achievement and not on the gift of grace. Sincerity of heart proclaiming Christ to a lost world without knowledge of liberty from guilt always produces the same result, a polluted gospel which is not the gospel or good news that comes from God. In summary, sincerity is a wonderful trait but only as good as the goal which it pursues. Thus the highest calling for sincerity is Ephesians 6:24, “Grace be with all them that love our Lord God in sincerity.”
No Longer Guilty
The true word of God’s gospel is found in 2nd Corinthians and is good news indeed, for God was in Christ when Christ ministered to the world for the purpose of reconciling lost mankind to Himself. Look carefully at the text, God came in order that He would no longer have cause to charge trespasses against men who would but acknowledge the full and complete satisfaction of Christ’s shed blood for answer to the demands of His law. Look again, not imputing our trespasses to us. Let me reiterate, not holding us as guilty for trespasses against Him and His Law. We who obeyed from the heart/mind the pure and true Gospel are no longer guilty, for to claim we are guilty is to defy the scripture of 1 John 3:4-6.
Vertical wisdom on the other hand is not tainted by corruption of this world or it’s pollutants, but as James 3:17 states is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, good for persuasion, full of mercy and of good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. This word translated pure is the Greek word meaning clean, or perfection. There is only one source of perfect or clean wisdom. We humans may speak words of wisdom but if they are truly perfectly clean the original source is God. What has this to do with sincerity of purpose, much in many things with which we as humans do and think. The first few verses of Romans 10 give sobering insight into misguided sincerity and it’s terrible consequences when eternal life and liberty in Christ is concerned. Here is where we delve back into the fatal heart condition of which a sincere religious person suffers and does not have or enjoy liberty in Christ. Guilt coupled with fear is not liberty, nor is it rest in the finished work of Christ wherein all true believers stand.
In Romans 10:2-3 we see a dramatic example of sincerity that has as its goal an impossibility of achievement in Israel’s attempt to achieve their own righteousness. In verse two we find zealous sincerity but not sincerity that will be recognized as righteous pursuit of God. In verse three we find this sincerity is called ignorance, and this because these individuals are using horizontal wisdom to achieve that which can only be found in God’s vertical input coming from above first. They had not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God.
As James 3:17 states “wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be treated, full of mercy and good fruits.” The question must come to mind does obedience to the law fit into the categories mentioned above? Can you even through struggle be obedient to the Commandments? The obvious answer is emphatically no. But there was one, Jesus, who was not only born without sin but continued to maintain an existence here upon the earth without sin. In doing so He was able to be offered as the lamb without blemish who could bear and did bear the sins of the entire world. A finished work wherein He was able to sit down at the right hand of the Father, and not as the priest who went into the temple and stood because their work was never completed due to the necessity of having to repeat it.
Now comparing Scripture to Scripture and looking back to Romans 10:3 we see the dilemma before mankind concerning the Commandments of God written in stone as well as the necessity for the grace of God written in the fleshy heart of man. The apostle here writes of those who have a zeal for God but not according to knowledge. Now the question must be asked why their zeal was not directed by knowledge since clearly Romans 3:1-2 shows that the Jews had an advantage because unto them had been committed or given the oracles or the things said of God.
Leaven That Leavens the Whole Lump
The only answer possible goes back to the leaven that leavens the whole lump in the book of Galatians, rules and regulations always give rise to competition, and competition always gives rise to pride or leaven which leavens the whole lump. Thus the admonition from the apostle: those of you who are justified through your competition concerning obedience to the law and tradition are fallen from grace. For there is no flesh justified in the sight of God, for the only man who is justifiable by His own merit was Christ Jesus. This line of thinking is brought out in 2 Corinthians 3:5 as the apostle states we are not sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God. He goes on to say that it is God who had made us able ministers of the New Testament, not of the letter/stone tablet but of the spirit of liberty. For the letter/stone tablet kills, but the Spirit gives life.
In the next segment we will see the sequence of events that take place in 2 Corinthians 3 where we see the glory of God written in stone, engraved by God’s finger, lose its glory in comparison to the light of the glory of the ministration or attendance of righteousness which exceeds the glory of the law. And what is this that exceeds the glory of the law? “Grace” which is the example and the extension of God’s love toward mankind.