Most religious people have the idea that as long as one is sincere, that is enough. Some believe that a sincere Hindu will be lost, but not a sincere Jew. Others think those who sincerely believe in Jesus will be saved, but the sincere Buddhist, Muslim and Jew will be lost.
The Bible teaches that sincerity alone is not enough for anyone. Notice examples of men who were sincere, yet sinful.
- Nadab and Abihu, sons of Aaron, were sincere in offering incense to God but were killed because they did not follow the command of the Lord (Leviticus 10:1-2). They were not unbelievers, nor were they intent on rebellion. However, they lost their lives because sincerity was not enough.
- King Saul was sincere in wanting to offer sacrifices to the Lord but was condemned for not doing His will (1 Samuel 15:1-23). He believed in God and did most of what God wanted. Still, this was not enough.
- Saul, later Paul, was sincere in Judaism, but he was lost in his sins before he obeyed the gospel of Christ (Acts 23:1; 24:16; 22:16). Saul was not only sincere but zealous for God. Yet, his sincerity was not enough.
- Cornelius was a devout man who feared God (Acts 10:1-2). Nevertheless, he was told to send for Peter to learn words by which he would be saved (Acts 11:13-14). His sincerity was not enough.
Sincerity alone will not do us any good. One must be sincere AND do what Jesus commands. Jesus said, “The true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him” (John 4:23).
One can do the right thing from the wrong motive (Philippians 1:15-16). One can also do the wrong thing from the right motive (Leviticus 10:1-2). The Bible requires we do the right thing from the right motive (1 Timothy 1:3-11).
Steven F. Deaton