“Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen” (Ephesians 6:24).
And so, Paul wraps it up in this letter to the Ephesians.
I highlighted “in sincerity” in my Bible. I have read this book and this chapter so many times throughout the years, yet it wasn’t until the other day these two words rose up from the page to meet the eyes of my understanding.
Was Paul trying to give us the key to everything else he had written? He did have a lot to say, and he said it. Yet, these two words bring out his teaching, into one little nutshell…sincerity (sin cere; without wax…).
Grace be with who all those love our Lord Jesus Christ…in sincerity. Was he hinting there were some who didn’t? What proves this sincerity in loving Jesus? The rest of the Epistle, not doing this, or that other thing, behaving like saints, abstaining from doing things not conducive to remaining saintly.
What then makes it so difficult, not to? Insincerity.
What is it about the word that denotes the lack of saintly character, habits, and makeup?
Not being sincerely in love with Jesus.
It’s like every relationship on this earth. When you are insincere, you are being a hypocrite. A hypocrite acts as if he is sincere, doesn’t he? A hypocrite’s actions and words are meant to fool others because he lacks sincerity. Truth is lacking. The hypocrite goes through the motions. There is no respect for other’s time, emotions, or personhood. There is an agenda in their actions. They are duplicitous – there is nothing you can bank on in their words or their actions. When sincerity reigns in a person’s character, it reigns in their heart. And through the mouth, the heart speaks. When there is no sincerity, we are then being insincere. There is no love. There is no “in love.”
And you know that. And I know that. But have you ever come face to face with it? Before your born-again days, I know just how you must have handled it…probably the same way I did. But what about: now? After my divorce, which took place a couple of years ago, I was informed by, the ex, that he loved me as friend, but didn’t love me as a wife. When I asked when did he realize this, he said five minutes after proposing to me. Well, that explained things! There was no sincerity – he had been insincere from the very beginning! It could never work. (But that wasn’t the reason for the divorce, just in case some are wondering…)
Paul knew that only those who are sincere in loving our Lord can abstain from doing all the wrong things he took mighty pains to warn us against. Most of us ignore poor Paul! We ignore the signs of insincerity, and end up calling good for evil and evil for good! Our gift of discernment gets blunted, until it finally disappears.
In relating what he taught, in these two words he made it clear that there were some who acted like they loved Jesus, yet were insincere because they were just acting like they did. What makes for insincerity in our actions? Doing the opposite of what we are supposed to do. Being the opposite of what we are supposed to be. Having a divided heart. Not being whole, complete. Not loving truly.
And that’s the marker of our relationship with Jesus, isn’t it? Sincerity is the mark of being true, of being truly in love with our Lord Jesus.