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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Salvation by sincerity

Posted by Gary on February 28, 2006

Proverbs 16:25 “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”

It is very troubling to watch the vast majority of humanity heading toward eternity convinced that the truth is whatever they believe it to be. The devil has cast a powerful, damning spell over the hearts and minds of men which deludes them into thinking that truth begins within them.

2 Corinthians 4:3-4 “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”

The majority of men believe that sincerity is the qualifier for eternal life. The world’s doctrine of salvation teaches that the specifics are irrelevant, all that matters is sincerity to whatever you believe to be true. Our blindness is so great that no one (until God enables them) sees that they are not really sincere to their own truth, we are all hypocrites even to our self-made religion proving that we have deified self and the flesh.

How  is it that a person can hear conflicting claims to truth and maintain that both can save? The doctrine of sincerity. Most people will hear the claims of the world religions in the course of their life. Most have heard Christianity’s claim that Jesus is the Son of God and Messiah while also hearing Judaism claim that He is not. Judaism teaches that righteousness with God can and must be obtained through our obedience to God’s Law. Christianity in response claims that no one can be made righteous through their obedience and that forgiveness and salvation had to be purchased for us by God’s Son, Jesus. How is it that a person can hear these two contradictory claims and yet believe that both will go to heaven? Because they believe that sincerity is what God is concerned with.

Proverbs 16:25 is the Bible’s warning to man that it is possible to be sincerely wrong. Truth is not determined by what seems right to us, truth is found in God Himself and is revealed by God. If what I believe differs from what God has revealed I will be damned no matter how sincerely I pursued my system of belief.

Our job as Christians is not to make people believe Christianity is the truth, only God can make people believe. Our job is to declare the claim of the Christian faith: To preach God as He is revealed in the Bible and His salvation through His Son Jesus Christ.

“But what if people say they don’t believe Christianity?” That is for God to deal with. What I must be very careful to do is make it clear to men first, that two beliefs that contradict each other cannot both be true and second, to warn them that sincerity is not what saves but faith in Jesus, who is the way, the truth and the life.

Very often Christian leaders will appear on the Larry King Show and almost inevitably he will ask them if they believe that only Christians are going to heaven. It is disappointing to see the amount of soft shoeing that is done in response to this question. It would be so refreshing (not to mention, God honoring) if someone would say, “Yes Larry, I do believe that only those who have faith in Jesus will go to heaven because that is what the Bible tells me.” Why not lay out to Larry (or your co-worker or unsaved family member) the reality that two things that contradict each other cannot both be true, someone must be correct and someone of necessity must be in error. Again, I want to reiterate, it is not our responsibility to make people believe, it is our responsibility to declare the Gospel and its claim to them and leave the matter of belief and unbelief to God.

Acts 17:22-23 “So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. 23 “For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘To an unknown God.’ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.”

The doctrine of sincerity is of course a doctrine of works, the issue isn’t objective, propositional truth that is rooted in the being of God, the issue is that you really mean well and even if you end up denying the truth of God and live in opposition to what He has revealed it doesn’t matter, because you made an effort through the truth as it appeared (appealed) to you.

For the Christian this is unpleasant, nasty business. Our job is to rattle people out of their sincere belief in a lie by telling them their faith is a lie and proclaiming Christ to them. The lost do not like having their sincerity and false doctrine attacked, only those who are truly convinced of the truth themselves have the courage and commitment to do this.

Dear Christian reader, a flood of human souls are heading toward hell sincere as they may be, will you speak the truth to them? Will you love them enough to tell them that their belief is a lie no matter how sincerely they believe it?

If perhaps God has led a non-Christian to this page I want to lovingly say to you that Jesus Christ claims to be the only way to God (John 14:6) and that there is no forgiveness or salvation outside of Him (Acts 4:12). If you reject this I respect your honesty but hear the claim just the same, Jesus claims that any attempt to enter heaven except through Him will fail and result in your receiving the punishment your sin deserves. No one is stopping you from believing what you believe but know this, Jesus Christ who claims to be the Son of God has called your belief untrue and damnable, believe it at your own peril.

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