At the time the New Testament was being written there was a guild of silversmiths in Ephesus who made a lucrative living from selling solid silver images of the Roman goddess Diana. A small group of silversmiths who wanted to get rich quickly made images of the goddess, but instead of being solid silver they were filled with wax. Eventually the genuine article was marked with a seal containing two Latin words – sine, which means without, and cera which means wax. It is from these two words that we get our word sincere.
The word sincere means honest, free of deceit, hypocrisy or falseness, genuine, with pure motives, with integrity. It is very much a biblical word and we are exhorted to be utterly sincere and genuine. In other words, our lives should be the same on the inside as on the outside – without wax.
Firstly, love must be sincere (Romans 12:9). Sincere love is ‘un-hypocritical’, not making an outward show. Sincere love for God is pure love, which will produce a loathing for evil and hunger for good. Genuine love is worked out in relationships. It is not cupboard love which gives affection hoping for return. It is not selfish love aiming to get from giving, but love cleansed of self. Love and hypocrisy exclude one another.
Secondly, faith must be sincere (1 Timothy 1:5). Sincere faith is not something you drum up by your own efforts, but faith that keeps on growing as you keep your eyes on the object of faith – Jesus Himself. In the controversy over deceptive teaching, faith has to be guarded and based utterly on the Word of God.
Thirdly, the heart must be sincere (Hebrews 10:22). The sincere heart is without hypocrisy because the sacrifice of Jesus has cleansed it. The promise of the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:33) is that God will place His laws in our hearts and write them on our minds. Change starts in the heart and works its way out. A sincere heart is an undivided heart, full of wholehearted devotion to Jesus.
Sincere love, sincere faith and a sincere heart are worked from the inside out, based upon what Jesus did on the cross to cleanse us from sin and sanctify us. It is a divine work of grace deep inside us, changing us on the inside to the outside, so that we have an undivided heart and we are sincere – without wax.
Prayer: Thank You, Father, for what Jesus did on the cross to save and transform my heart. Please forgive me for the times when my heart has been divided and I have been less than sincere. I’m asking You today to change me on the inside and to give me a love for what You love, and a hatred for the things that displease You. Amen.
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