Applying the Character Quality of Sincerity

Sincerity vs. Hypocrisy

3 min

Sincerity is being as genuine on the inside as we appear to be on the outside.

The word sincere comes from the Latin sincerus, which means “whole, pure, genuine.” It is most likely derived from the root sem-, meaning “one,” and – cerus, from a verb meaning “to create.” To be sincere is to be without duplicity, which is planned deception. The ultimate expression of duplicity is Satan and his messengers, who appear as angels of light but in reality are darkness and death. (See II Corinthians 11:13–15.)

The Hebrew word for sincerity is tamiym. It means “complete, whole, entire, sound; having integrity; to be complete or entirely in accord with truth and fact.” The Greek word heilikrines is translated sincere and is made up of two Greek words: heile, which means “the sun’s ray,” and krino, meaning to “judge.” The literal meaning of sincere could be rendered “to have our lives and actions found pure when judged by sunlight.” Jesus explained, “Every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved” (John 3:20).

The Reward of Sincerity

God looks for sincere and perfect hearts through which to demonstrate His wisdom and power. “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him” (II Chronicles 16:9). This statement was spoken to King Asa, who won a great victory when he relied upon the Lord but suffered a great defeat when he relied upon a military ally.

Paul discovered that when he relied upon the Lord with all of his heart, even though he was weak, he experienced God’s strength. The Lord said to him, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (II Corinthians 12:9).

The Tragedy of Hypocrisy

Many people turn from the Lord because they observe hypocrisy in believers. Perhaps this is why Jesus was so harsh with hypocrites during His earthly ministry. “Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in” (Matthew 23:13).

Hupokrites, the Greek word translated hypocrite, means “an actor, stage player, pretender.” The hypocrites of Jesus’ day performed outward religious acts in order to get the praise of men, but were full of inward moral corruption. “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness” (Matthew 23:27).

A hypocrite’s root problem is that his whole heart is not devoted to the Lord.

A hypocrite’s root problem is that his whole heart is not devoted to the Lord.

The Key to Sincerity

Another New Testament word translated perfect is katartizo, meaning “to complete thoroughly, i.e. repair, adjust; to put in order.” Peter wrote, “The God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect [katartizo], stablish, strengthen, settle you” (I Peter 5:10).

God takes all believers through fiery trials that expose hidden defects and imperfections. When believers thank God for these trials and rejoice in the purposes for which they are given, God grants a corresponding measure of the power of the Holy Spirit and a perfection of the fruit of the Spirit in believers’ lives. (See I Peter 4:12–13.)

Personal Evaluation

  • Are you the same on the outside as you are on the inside?
  • Do you judge others about things of which you are guilty as well?
  • Do you obey outwardly, yet inwardly resist instruction?
  • Do you seek the Lord with your whole heart?
  • Do you do good deeds for the praise of men or the glory of God?
  • Do you allow the strength of God to shine through your weaknesses?
Explore more about this topic in The Power for True Success


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