While sincerity is very important in a relationship with God, the Lord requires more than just sincerity; He asks for our obedience. God wants us to be both sincere and obedient “If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). But love should be the motive power of obedience. Obedience that springs from compulsion or from fear is not the right form of obedience.
Saul (who later was called Paul) was “sincere” in his persecution of Christ’s children, and even did what he did to oppose it “in all good conscience.” He admitted that he was sincerely wrong (Acts 23:1; 22:19-20; Galatians 1:13; 1 Corinthians 15:9), and God allowed him to lose his sight for a season to help him realize his sin (Acts 9:3-9).
Sincerity alone is not enough. Christ stated: “Not everyone that saith unto me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). Faith in God must accompany works for “faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone” (James 2:17). And it is equally true that works unaccompanied by a sincere and living faith are also “dead” (Heb. 11:6).
Jesus wants a relationship with His children that goes beyond good intentions. He said: “This people honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. But in vain do they worship me, teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men” (Matthew 15:8-9). Sincerity alone is unfruitful. Sincerity will not pass a school test. Actions must accompany the intentions.
Those who do not know the will of God are not held accountable for it (Luke 12:47, 48). God measures a man’s accountability by his knowledge of duty, including truth he might have learned but did not purpose to know (Eze. 3:18–21; 18:2–32; 33:12–20; Luke 23:34; John 15:22; 1 Tim. 1:13; James 4:17). But those who have heard God’s voice speaking to their hearts and yet persist in their own ways “have no cloke for their sin” (John 15:22) and are in danger of presumption.
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In His service,