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Will people sincere about their faith be sent to hell?

It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. Philippians 1:15-17

Paul made an important distinction about a person’s faith in Philippians. He spoke about motives and sincerity. During Paul’s lifetime, some people were intent on harming others and pulling them away from a true faith in God. They were selfish and self-motivated. Insincere.

But, is Paul saying that sincerity is all that is required to justify someone’s faith?

Sincerity is a nice sounding word, however it is merely an adjective describing the state of one’s heart, not the truthfulness of what they believe. One can be sincerely right or sincerely wrong. Sincerity can mean passionate or earnest, but someone can be passionately wrong or earnestly wrong. Terrorists can be sincere. So can cult leaders. A child molester can say they sincerely love children.

Sincerity can occur because of ignorance.  Once they are enlightened to the truth, they can still be sincere, only this time they are sincerely right.

The emphasis should not be on sincerity, but discernment, wisdom and humility. It’s about the truthfulness of what they follow not why they follow it or how they follow it. Once someone finds the real truth, he must then follow it with all sincerity. Sincerity is not the guiding principle, but a by-product of discovering the sincere heart of Jesus Christ.

People are not sent to hell for being sincere or insincere. They are sent because they chose to reject the truth, whether they did it sincerely or insincerely.