Honesty, Humility, and Faith
by Lary R. Hale
Well, I write on this topic quite often, and preach on it frequently as well; and I am certain that I can do neither enough. I just don’t think that there is anything more important for a believer in Christ to realize, than to have and keep honesty and openness of heart, and humility before God. Now if we want to throw the fear of God and true holiness out the window, than these elements of faith really don’t matter much. Of course if we do so then we also throw the “hope of salvation” out with them, because the scripture instructs us to “follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14). And in like manner: “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (II Cor. 7:1). For the moment let’s define holiness, so that we can move on with the theme of this article. Jesus gave us the same understanding as Heb. 12:14 by telling us who WILL see God: “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Mat. 5:8). And the beloved apostle confirmed the mind of the Spirit on this as well: “… but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (I Jn. 3:2,3). And we will allow the apostle Paul to put the finishing touch on this truth, defining for us “this hope” that John says is attaining unto immortality at the Lord’s coming: “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in ONE HOPE of your calling” (Eph. 4:4). And this: “But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, THE HOPE of SALVATION” (I Thess. 5:8). So I’m sure you see that the “one hope” of the gospel is “THE hope of salvation,” and that salvation is defined by the scriptures as being glorified with an immortal body at the second coming of the Lord. So then we know that we can’t afford to throw holiness, the fear of God, OR salvation out the window, which brings us back to the utter necessity of continuing in open honesty and humility before God. First off, NOBODY EVER receives the holy Ghost without total honesty about the state of their heart and absolute humility before God. Why not? Because God alone knows the hearts of men, and he accepts no one’s offering of faith and repentance unless and until it is complete (I Kin. 8:39; Acts 15:8). That is what the “WHOLE burnt offering” under the old covenant represented, and Paul admonished us to keep that commandment in spirit, saying that it is the only acceptable offering we can make (Exd. 29:18; Rom. 12:1). That is what it takes for Jesus to baptize us with the holy Ghost, which experience alone purifies the heart from sin by faith in him, as Peter explained (Acts 15:8; Acts 10:44-46). To hold anything back from God in our heart, and to deal deceitfully about anything in our heart that is not right, is an immeasurable insult to the intelligence and integrity of God: “For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things” (I J. 3:20).
Now the point here is this: Receiving or being baptized with the Spirit, whichever way you want to say it, is what washes us from sin; which is to say that it sanctifies us and justifies us, as the scripture also confirms (Rom. 15:6; II Thess. 2:13; I Cor. 6:11; Tit. 3:5). So if we have to come fully clean before God in order to BECOME “partakers of his holiness,” how much more integral is it that we CONTINUE in this same honesty and humility before God in order to maintain and grow in that holiness? As the apostle Paul said so simplistically and truly: “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him” (Col. 2:6). Someone will read right over that and tell themselves; “Yeah I know, just keep on believing in Jesus, and keep “going to church” and reading my Bible, etc.” But that isn’t what the scriptures says. It means to continue doing the things that it took for us to initially experience the baptism of the holy Ghost, with God’s confirming witness of speaking with other tongues. And as I stated already, nobody receives this experience apart from total honesty, openness, and humility before God. So it is evident that no one can grow in Christ if any of these elements are left behind to any degree. David understood this age old truth, and said; “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psm. 66:18). And his son Solomon, who obtained untold wisdom from heaven, echoed that sentiment: “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” (Prov. 28:13). And John updated us on the same truth, lest anyone should foolishly say, “Oh that was the old testament” (Really, people do try tricks like that when they are holding on to something wrong themselves): “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I Jn. 1:9). And to these things the apostle Paul agreed as well: “Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after” (I Tim. 5:24). It’s really simple, we cannot purify anything from our hearts if we can’t acknowledge what is there. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that we have to go around living with sin in our hearts. To the contrary in fact. Nevertheless we are all tried, and sin would like to get back in there even if we are remaining pure from it. But in order to stay free from having sin dwelling in us, we must continue to “purify [ourselves] even as he is pure.” And there is surely a place in Christ where truly matured and tried believers have sin in the rear view mirror, and really have no struggle at all staying free from it. But the point here is that NOBODY gets to that place without maintaining their first honesty, humility, and openness before God daily. As long as we call everything just like it is, and remain diligent with the Lord, we can continue to grow in his love and holiness. If we decide at some point to find a justification for some wrong thing that we have struggled with, we will begin going backward at that point (Isa. 5:20; Jer. 8:5; Prov. 14:14). If something like that remains with us, it can become a pattern, and our hope of salvation will grow very dim in that case; because we will no longer be able to purify ourselves by the power of God’s Spirit. My prayer is that everyone who reads this article can call everything for what it is, including honesty. Amen.
Original Post at By One Spirit Ministries Facebook page August 13, 2012