- Text: Eph. 4:25.
- We live in an environment where dishonesty is a major problem — in society at large, in the denominational world, and even in the Lord’s church.
- Some forms of dishonesty are not only accepted but defended as harmless, e.g. cheating on taxes. Cf. Isa. 59:13–15.
- The children of God are called upon to be lights shining in a dark world (Phil. 2:15), and in the matter of honesty we have a great opportunity to do this.
I. Honesty Is a Part of Godliness
- Truth is a part of the essence of God’s own character — Tit. 1:2. Cf. Num. 23:19; Rom. 3:4; Hb. 6:18.
- We are able to trust God (put our faith in Him) for the very reason that He is a God of truth — Deut. 32:4.
- Jesus is the “Faithful and True Witness” (Rev. 3:14). Cf. 19:11; etc.
- We are to follow the example of Him in whose mouth guile was never found — 1 Pt. 2:22.
- Ultimately, all lying involves our relationship to God — Ac. 5:1–11.
- Certainly, we cannot lie to God.
- But neither can we lie to anybody else without the knowledge of God — Hb. 4:13. Cf. Psa. 90:8.
- Lying is at the heart of the devil’s character, and engaging in it makes us king to him rather than to God — Jn. 8:44.
- Deceit is essentially selfish and covetous, whereas honesty is motivated by love — 1 Cor. 13:6.
- Our minds — and hence our characters — are to be filled with what is true and noble — Phil. 4:8.
- “True” (KJV) = alethes (real, actual).
- “Honest” (KJV) = semnos (noble, honorable).
- God desires “truth in the inward parts” (Psa. 51:6).
II. There Are Numerous Aspects of Honesty
- An honest person always tells the truth.
- He never lies — Prov. 6:16–19; Eph. 4:25; Rev. 21:8.
- An honest person speaks the truth even in his own heart — Psa. 15:2. Cf. Psa. 51:6.
- But there are other aspects of honesty.
- The honest person never steals — Eph. 4:28.
- He never commits fraud, cheats, or acts unfairly.
- He never acts hypocritically or with guile.
- He checks to make sure about what is true.
- He always keeps confidences.
- He always keeps his word — Mt. 5:37. Honesty is conforming our words to reality, while integrity is conforming reality to our words.
- He always acts “in good faith.”
- He stands up for truth as its friend — he is willing to confront dishonesty, deception, and misrepresentation. Cf. Exo. 23:1,2.
- We must strive for consistent honesty in all its various aspects.
III. We Must Be Honest Because It Is Right, Period
- Honesty is a potent force for good in the world — but to exert its influence it must be unconditional honesty — the kind that will deal truthfully and fairly even when “no one is looking.”
- Honesty is the best policy, but the man is not really honest who is honest only the grounds of “expediency.” There are times when dealing truthfully and faithfully requires the sacrifice of personal interest. Cf. Psa. 15:4.
- We need to be “men of truth” (Exo. 18:21): people of unquestioned integrity, honor, and sincerity. Cf. 1 Pt. 2:12; 3:16.
- We need to be people who are capable of living on the “honor system.”
- “Honest” in the KJV often translates the Greek kalos which meant “good” in the sense of beautiful, comely, etc.
- There is an attractiveness about truth and honor that has a beneficial effect on those who come in contact with it — Rom. 12:17. Cf. Lk. 8:15; 2 Cor. 8:21; 13:7; Hb. 13:18; 1 Pt. 2:12.
- Kalos is exactly the word translated “good” in Mt. 5:16: “that they may see your good works.”
- Honesty is one of the most obvious ways in which we are to “adorn the gospel” — Tit. 2:10.
- As valuable as a reputation for honesty is, there are few things harder to get back once we have lost such a reputation — may we carefully maintain our integrity and the influence that goes with it.
Gary Henry — WordPoints.com + AreYouaChristian.com