Sincerity may be defined as the quality of character that honestly intends to do the just, loving or powerful thing in motive, thought, word or deed, according to one’s understanding of the true or false principles involving the situation. The heart of sincerity is in one’s intentions. To be sincere one must be honest in his intentions. The Bible gives this thought by the use of the words sincere or sincerity, and sometimes by using synonymous words. The opposite of sincerity is hypocrisy, one of the worst of the disgraces, which is dishonesty of motive, thought, word and act. No wonder that Jesus denounced hypocrisy more severely than any other disgrace (Matthew 23).
The Uses of Sincerity
Sincerity has various good uses:
(1.) Godward, it puts us into a position in which God can win us as sons and servants who can please, honor and serve Him in His Plan and purpose.
(2.) It prepares us to be fitted for the various phases of the Christian life; for it helps us to obtain God’s providential, instructional, justifying, sanctifying and delivering blessings, and our experiences and attainments.
(3.) It gives us the influence to help others to obtain the providential, instructional, justifying, sanctifying and delivering blessings, experiences and attainments that God undertakes to give to those who would come to Him.
The Abuses of Sincerity
Sincerity has many abuses, such as the following:
(1.) Morbid conscientiousness, which is an overworking of conscientiousness, a making of conscience go to extremes in its commands and prohibitions.
(2.) Misinformed sincerity, which is sincerity attached to error. A good example of this is Saul of Tarsus, whose sincerity led him to persecute the Truth and God’s people.
(3.) Partially informed sincerity, which puts burdens upon oneself from which fairly full information would liberate them. Examples include observing days of special sanctity, abstaining from meat as a sinful thing, etc.
(4.) Partial sincerity, which is honesty of intention in some things, but not in others.
The Cultivation of Sincerity
The following will help us to cultivate sincerity:
(1.) A devout and imitative contemplation of God’s sincerity. God has shown His sincerity in His dealings with the good angels by treating them in His covenant dealings according to that covenant. He has shown it with mankind before pronouncing the curse by keeping His covenant with them, and after it by keeping their impenitent part in the experience with evil, and by dealing with those of them who come into covenant relations with Him in all wisdom, power, justice and love.
(2.) A devout and imitative contemplation of Jesus’ sincerity. Jesus’ sincerity is seen in His prehuman ministry; in divesting Himself of His prehuman nature, honor and office, in order to become a human being for man’s salvation; in His wilderness experiences with the Word and Satan; in His winning disciples and His teaching, correcting, encouraging, restraining and rebuking them; in His dealings with the scribes, Pharisees, the Sanhedrin, Pilate and the multitudes; and in His trials, difficulties, opposition, enmity and death itself.
(3.) Contemplating the evil effects of sincerity’s absence and suppression. Its suppression leads to the loss of the Truth, as its absence blinds one to seeing it. Its suppression leads to the loss of the spirit of the Truth, as its absence prevents one from gaining that spirit. Its suppression leads to the abounding of one’s sinfulness, as its absence leads to one’s continuance of his sins. Its suppression leads to one’s unfitness for every good word and work, as its absence disables one to enter into any good word and work.
(4.) Contemplating sincerity’s good effects. Sincerity opens one’s eyes to the Truth. It enables one to take the steps of repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus. It helps one to consecration and to the fulfillment of one’s consecration vows to be dead to self and the world and alive to God. It helps one to lay down one’s human all in service in the interests of God’s cause and people. It helps one to develop all the graces of character. And it helps one to victory against one’s spiritual foes.
Let us at all costs be sincere toward God, self and others; and, other things being equal, all will turn out well with us and for us.