5 For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you (2 Timothy 1).
Our English word “sincere” reflects a positive meaning of “heartfelt genuineness or wholeheartedness,” while the word in Greek (“anypokritos”) reflects a much more negative meaning of “being without hypocrisy or disguise.” How very interesting that Paul would choose to describe “faith” in terms of a negative, rather than a positive. He could have chosen the word “eilikrinḗs” (from “heilē—shining of the sun”), which would have been very positive and uplifting indeed (and no doubt much more acceptable in our “Political Correctness” culture today). Yet instead, Paul chose a word with a more negative connotation.
Why? Because there are times when we need to be warned, and not just uplifted. How very sad it is that something as wonderful and crucial as faith can be faked—that it can be simply donned as a mask to disguise the very absence of what it portrays! And what is worse, and even tragic, is how this happens so frequently!Paul had seen so much hypocrisy in terms of personal expressions of faith, that he felt even his encouragement to Timothy must be veiled in a warning.
Lord, may the faith we express in our lives This Day be seen either as sincere and heartfelt and genuine and shining like the sun, or as without hypocrisy or disguise—depending on the need in the hearts of those who see our faith. Amen.