trusted online casino malaysia
Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.


Sincerity is not enough.

Toward a Strong Soul (6)

They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you, having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls. 2 Peter 2.13, 14

Sincere…but wrong
Many Christians today want to believe that the key to genuine faith lies in being sincere. “I really, really believe this is what God wants me to do.” “I know this isn’t right, but I sincerely believe God will forgive me.”

It never seems to occur to such people that, unless they’re thinking, feeling, valuing, and living under the authority of God, speaking in His Word, they may be ever so sincere, but they may be sincerely wrong.

Peter did not question the sincerity of the false teachers who were drawing away unstable souls into selfishness, sin, and the judgment of God. Indeed, they were very sincere. They believed that they knew better than the apostles what the Christian faith should be like, and they urged all who shared in their sense of freedom from authority and liberation from constraints to follow where they led.

But though they were sincere, they were also deceived. They were ignorant of the truth of God (2 Pet. 2.12), motivated by personal gain (2 Pet. 2.14, 15), and following their own whims rather than the commandment of God (2 Pet. 2.21). The unstable souls who looked to them may have been just as sincere, but they were also just as deceived and wrong.

How does this happen? How do well-meaning people simply go astray from the path of truth and begin holding to false beliefs and taking up corrupt practices? Remember, these people were attending church, hearing the preaching of the Word week after week, hobnobbing with other Christians, and much else that looked like the life of faith. Yet they began to be attracted to false and blasphemous teaching (vv. 12, 13), which encouraged them to think that they could believe in Jesus and yet follow a course of self-serving and sinful ways.

And they perhaps even boasted, right along with their false teachers, that their understanding of the Christian faith allowed them to have the best of both worlds, so to speak (v. 18).

No grounding
It’s easy to see how this happens. People hang around church, make some new friends, but don’t take up the disciplines of the Christian life with any regularity. They were told that all they had to do was believe in Jesus, and that’s all they’ve done, and all they ever plan to do. They don’t make reading and study of Scripture a daily practice, and prayer is not much of a priority in their everyday lives. They like the idea of being Christians, and the promise that they’ll go to heaven when they die; but they don’t listen very carefully to the message of self-denial and sacrificial living for Jesus. That’s fine for some people, they suppose, but for them it’s enough to go to church and wait for the Lord to receive them in heaven. They don’t think they have to work out their salvation since they’ve already received it as a gift. They’re convinced God would only want them to be happy and loving, and they’re sure they know best how to do that. Jesus, they insist, wants us to be sincere in what we believe, even if what we believe doesn’t always match up with what the Scriptures teach.

And, quite possibly, that’s the message they hear every week in their church – that Jesus is just all right with them, and He only wants what’s best for their lives.

So it should not surprise us that they begin to believe, since Jesus has forgiven them and loves them just as they are, they should follow their instincts rather than sound reason (v. 12) and get as much as they can out of their faith in Jesus. When someone comes along and tells them “Jesus wants to you be happy! Jesus wants you to be wealthy! Jesus accepts you just as you are. Jesus will not deny you whatever you desire, as long as you continue to trust in Him!” that sounds like a message they can embrace.

Soon, they’re listening more to those voices than that of the Spirit of God, speaking in His Word. They’re hanging around with others who find this message of “Jesus for me” appealing. They’re beginning to enjoy some of their new “freedom” to indulge – or at least allowing others to indulge – the desires of their flesh. And they’re reading every aspect of their faith through the lens of what’s in it for me.

Though sincere in their convictions, they are unstable in their souls, and deceived as to their faith.

In danger?
But this is not the way to glorify God. This is the way of deception. This is the way of the unstable soul. And if you’re listening to such voices rather than to those teaching the historic faith of Jesus Christ, then you may well be an unstable soul, who is in danger of being one day discovered not to be a servant of Jesus at all, but a servant merely of your own lusts.

Better to devote ourselves each day to renewing the mind, cleansing the heart, and purifying the conscience according to the teaching of Scripture, than lending our ears to those who want only to tickle and please them for whatever lusts of the flesh they are indulging in the Name of the Lord. No amount of sincerity or wishful thinking will substitute for following in the path of obedience to God which Jesus walked before us (1 Jn. 2.1-6).

Strong souls don’t just happen. They must be nurtured, guarded, developed, and submitted to God and His Word. They are deceived and in danger of judgment who counsel otherwise.

For reflection
1.  What might be some indications that you were beginning to follow the way of deception rather than of truth?

2.  Why is being sincere simply not enough when it comes to following Jesus?

3.  How would you begin to help someone with an unstable soul to begin stabilizing their soul as the Lord intends?

Next steps – Demonstration: Begin paying more attention to stabilizing your own soul – mind, heart, and conscience. What are some steps you can take both to keep a close watch on your soul and to work for its increasing stabilization?

T. M. Moore

All the installments in this “Strong Souls” series are available in PDF by clicking here.

Thanks for your prayers and support
If you find ReVision helpful in your walk with the Lord, please seek the Lord, asking Him whether you should contribute to the support of this ministry with your financial gifts. As the Lord leads, you can use the Contribute button at the website to give with a credit card, or you can send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

Subscribe to Ailbe Newsletters

Sign up to receive our email newsletters and read columns about revival, renewal, and awakening built upon prayer, sharing, and mutual edification.