The thirteenth characteristic of a godly man is that he is sincere. By "sincere" Watson means that the godly man is "what he seems to be...he strives to approve himself to God in everything...is ingenuous in laying open his sins...has blessed designs in all that he does...and he abhors dissimulation with men". Sincerity, says Watson, "is not strictly a grace but rather the ingredient in every grace". If we do not have sincerity then we do not rightly have grace. To stir us in striving for this characteristic Watson gives us 9 things to consider:
- Sincerity renders us lovely to God
- Sincerity makes our services find acceptance with God
- Sincerity is our safety
- Sincerity is gospel perfection
- Sincerity is what the devil attacks most
- Sincerity is the beauty of a Christian
- Consider the vileness of hypocrisy
- If the heart is sincere, God will wink at many failings
- Nothing but sincerity will give us comfort in an hour of trouble
I suppose I should clarify what Watson means by "sincerity is gospel perfection". This is what Watson said under this point: "Though a Christian is full of infirmities and, like a child that is put out to nurse, weak and feeble, God still looks on him as if he were completely righteous."Watson has an excellent point that sincerity is what the devil attacks most. "Let men go to church and make glorious pretences of holiness. Satan does not oppose this; this does him no hurt and them no good; but if men want to be sincerely pious, then Satan musters up all his forces against them."
One point that Watson makes is that the godly man is ingenuous (free, open) in laying open his sins. He says that the "hypocrites veils and smothers his sin. He does not cut off his sin but conceals it." This reminds me of Derek Webb's introduction to his song "I Repent" on his House Show album. We in American Christendom are very good about hiding and clothing our sin. In fact that is often what we make our spiritual pursuit about. Webb then went on to say that the best thing that could happen to us would be for our most vile sins to be exposed on the 6:00 news. Watson seems to agree. We ought to be specific and open about our sinfulness. For some reason we have bought the lie that our most faithful witness is mock purity.
Strokes of Genius:
On to Part 12...
"There is a time coming shortly, when a smile from God's face will be infinitely better than all the applause of men". (97)
"Satan does not oppose profession, but sincerity." (100-101)
"...what the devil most assaults, we must strive most to maintain" (101)