Sincerity Is Not Enough
Charles J. Aebi
My cousin said, “It does not make any difference what you believe, as long as you are sincere.” H. Ross Perot said, “It doesn’t make any difference what you believe, as long as you have ethics and morality.” My paint boss said, “It doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you don’t beat your wife and kids, and don’t cheat your neighbor.” The problem with all these statements is that they take only one or two things and hang the whole law on them. Jesus said the greatest command is to love God supremely, yet none of the statements above has anything to do with loving God! All three statements have to do only with man’s relationship with himself and other men; they leave God out of the picture entirely. Does it matter to God if you ignore him, as long as you are sincere and treat others right?
Consider the following passages: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). “… if you do not believe that I [Jesus] am He [the Messiah], you will die in your sins” (John 8:24). “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16). The answer is clear: it does matter what you believe! It matters eternally! One must believe in God; one must believe in Christ; one must believe in the gospel, and must obey it! Otherwise you cannot come to God; you cannot be saved from sin; you will be judged and condemned.
Take the case of Saul of Tarsus. He was responsible for the imprisoning and killing of Christians, both in Palestine and in foreign nations. Yet, he was sincere in doing this; he thought it was right and necessary to kill them. After he was converted and preached for many years, he himself was imprisoned because of his preaching, and he said to his accusers, “I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day” (Acts 23:1). In other words, Saul [Paul] had been sincere in his wrongdoing as he persecuted Christians, but he was not right in so doing. He stood condemned in sin until he repented and was baptized into Christ (Acts 22:16).
Being sincere is not enough; we must be sincere in believing and in doing right. Hitler may have been sincere in believing all Jews should be killed; the Japanese pilots who bombed Pearl Harbor were surely sincere, as were the Muslims who destroyed the twin towers in New York, but they were wrong, and they are murderers. —2660 Layman Rd., Vincent OH 45784. firstname.lastname@example.org
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