|Volume 18 Number 12 December 2016||
Honesty as far as the Christian is concerned is very important. As a matter of fact, it should be a great concern for non-Christians as well. Dishonesty is a problem confronting our society. Honesty, sincerity, integrity and openness of life are absolutely essential if the church is to stand high in the thinking of our neighbors and friends. If Christians are to have any influence for Christ, they must be genuine Christians. I want to discuss with you some aspects of the vital subject of honesty.
What is honesty? How important is honesty? How many people are really honest? Webster defines “honesty” as “honorable; characterized by integrity and straightforwardness in conduct, in thought and in speech; free from fraud; genuine, fully unadulterated; open; frank; sincere.” Then, he gives some opposites: “Dishonest; fraudulent; false; deceitful; crooked.”
First, let us note that Jesus is our supreme example of honesty. Jesus is the personification of truth. In John 14:6, “Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.'” He possesses the attributes of God, and God cannot lie (Titus 1:2). If Jesus was not honest and truthful, we would not have a perfect example (1 Peter 2:21-22), forgiveness of sins (Revelation 1:5), hope beyond the grave (1 Corinthians 15:19) and assurance of our heavenly home (John 14:1-2).
Second, notice the high cost of dishonesty. The Bible says many things about dishonesty (Leviticus 19:11; Proverbs 6:17-19; 11:1; 12:22; Revelation 21:8). It also has examples of what happens when dishonesty is displayed. Acts 5:1-10 tells of the dishonesty of Ananias and Sapphira, and the result of it, which was the death of both of them. Outside the Scripture, we see dishonesty can destroy reputations, families, friendships and disrupt workplaces.
Third, we can improve our honesty. First, learn some Bible principles (Leviticus 19:13; Luke 8:15; Romans 13:13; 2 Corinthians 13:7; 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12). Second, be a positive example for others. Third, encourage honesty from others and demonstrate it. Fourth, be ready to stand up for honesty. Finally, make honesty a priority.
As difficult as it is to admit, honesty is a great concern in the world today. We must make a conscience decision to improve on our honesty, even when we think no one is looking, because God is watching. Honesty is not a sometimes rule, but it should remain in good times and in bad. Honesty pays dividends not only now, but it will do so in eternity as well.
I recently did a word study on the word “baptism,” especially as it is used in Acts 2:38. The Greek word is “baptizo” and was transliterated and not translated. It was Anglicized into “baptize” instead of rendered “immersion” because the King James translators viewed different so-called modes of baptism (i.e., pouring or sprinkling). They did not want to give the proper picture of what baptism is – an immersion. I used the Blue Letter Bible app to do my study. It gave this illustration of the word baptism:
This word should not be confused with baptô (911). The clearest example that shows the meaning of baptizo is a text from the Greek poet and physician Nicander, who lived about 200 B.C. It is a recipe for making pickles and is helpful because it uses both words. Nicander says that in order to make a pickle, the vegetable should first be ‘dipped’ (baptô) into boiling water and then ‘baptised’ (baptizô) in the vinegar solution. Both verbs concern the immersing of vegetables in a solution. But the first is temporary. The second, the act of baptising the vegetable, produces a permanent change.
I understand this analogy well. My grandmother once made pickles in her kitchen when I was a kid. Once the cucumber was immersed in the vinegar, it certainly would never be the same!
Baptism produces a permanent change in us! Paul wrote:
Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. (Romans 6:3-7)
Baptism is not the washing of the dirt from the body, but it is the answer of a good conscience before God (1 Peter 3:21). Baptism changes one’s direction in life. Those who are baptized have a new master to obey (Romans 6:16). Baptism provides the avenue to the blood of Christ that was shed to redeem all mankind (1 Peter 1:18-19).
Faith alone does not make a permanent change in a person’s life! Confessing Jesus as Lord does not make a permanent change in one’s life! Professing repentance from sin does not make that permanent change in life! Only after these things and having been immersed in water will one’s life be permanently changed!