SINCERITY OR TRUTH - NEITHER ALONE WILL SAVE
In Joshua 24:14, we find this Jewish leader telling the people to " . . . fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and truth." The word SINCERITY comes from the Hebrew word TAMIYM which is defined as "complete, whole, entire, sound; innocent, having integrity; what is complete or entirely in accord with truth and fact." The sense of the word indicates one has to wholeheartedly accept God and have an attitude of wanting to live their life in accord with the truth of Gods word.
In the passage cited above we note the word "Sincerity" is linked to the word "Truth" with the conjunction ""AND." In language, a conjunction is a connecter. It links the two words together and they are inseparable. A conjunction is like a trailer hitch on a vehicle. When you hitch a trailer to the vehicle via the trailer hitch (conjunction), then wherever the vehicle goes the trailer will also go. They are inseparable.
Joshua is telling the people in order to acceptably serve God, they must have a burning desire in their heart to serve God as He directs in the truth of His word.
If that burning desire to serve God is not coupled to the truth of Gods word, then their service to God will be unacceptable.
The Old Testament is replete with stories of Gods people having a desire to serve God but they displeased Him. They uncoupled themselves from the purity of Gods word truth by mixing various forms of idolatry with it and hitched themselves to a perverted religious teaching formed in the minds of men. Consequently, Gods complaint with His children is found in Ezekiel 20:21 when He said, "But the children rebelled against me; they did not walk in My statues nor were they CAREFUL in observing my commands . . . "
In the New Testament Jesus said in Matt 7:21-23, ". . .not all who say "Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven but he that does the will of My father . . . " Many protested by presenting all their religious acts for scrutiny. But Jesus told them they were guilty of iniquity (doing that which is not authorized) and thus never did have a right relationship with God.
In Rom 10:1-3, Paul said he could vouch for the Jews in their sincerity for God. However, he goes on to say they were lost because of their being ignorant of Gods truth and in their ignorance they built up their own system of righteousness. They hitched their desire to serve God to a system of righteousness (religious teachings) that had been developed in the minds of men and not God. Long ago, the writer of the book of Proverbs said in Prov 19:2 (NIV), "It is not good to have zeal without knowledge."
Kind reader, what is your religious zeal hitched to: your feelings, family religion, denominational teachings, or the word of God? Are you "hitched" to the wrong trailer of religious teaching? If so, then you are (maybe even sincerely) towing a trailer that will bring about your eternal destruction. Make sure you have hitched your sincerity towards God to His truth and tow it all the way to heaven.
By Dick Millwee
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