Mother Eve, when she observed the
fruit of the forbidden
Tree of Knowledge, became
convinced that it looked desirable
to the eye,
having an outwardly pleasing form,
but she soon found out
inner core contained death.
By looking at surface appearances only,
the entire human race has
fallen for deceit, duplicity, and slickness ever since.
By contrast, goodness or genuineness does not reside on the outside,
but deep within the core.
Whether we are looking at fruit,
automobiles, computers, or people, we must concern ourselves
more with the subdermal,
what is under the hood, rather than the
Sometimes we use "sincere" as a synonym for "goodness" or
Sincere has an interesting etymology.
Two Latin words, sin, meaning
and cerus, meaning "wax," make up the composite term.
It seems that in ancient times, when a
marble column or a statue began to show cracks,
the fissures would be
masked with resin, pitch, or a type of wax.
The artisan intended
to deceive by concealing the cracks.
The Hebrew verb
used for Lot's wife "looking" back is
Her looking back at Sodom differs in word usage from
Abraham "looking" שקף, šāqap toward Sodom in (18:16)
A pillar of salt named "Lot's wife" is located near the
Mount Sodom in Israel.
however, means "having nothing to hide"
what you see is what you get.
Insincere suggests that someone is concealing a flaw,
appear to have a quality when it, in truth, is defective.
In its raw, natural state, the
inner core of mankind is rotten and detestable,
"deceitful above all things"
God realized that the human heart would have
an inclination toward evil, even though
human lips would
outwardly proclaim its goodness
The Almighty designed human beings so that
would proceed from the inside-out.
In Hebrews 8:10 and 10:16 (a quotation from Jeremiah 31:33),
God reveals the Process
through which the wickedness of carnal human beings
may become transformed into the wholesome goodness of
"I will put my laws in their minds and write it on their hearts."
We cannot expect goodness to emerge any other way
than from the inside-out
In scientific terms, we could
say that the
Genotype the inherent, genetic constitution of a thing--
always determines the
Phenotype its visible properties.
Jesus Christ in Matthew 7:18,
A Good Tree cannot bear
Bad Fruit, nor can a Bad Tree bear
James makes a similar comment,
Can a Fig Tree, my brethren,
bear Olives, or a Grapevine
Motivational expert Stephen Covey states the same principle in aphorisms:
You can't bear Fruit without
"You can't change the fruit
changing the roots."
The process of conversion
inside and works outward,
Begining with a Regeneration
God's Holy Spirit
which automatically resets our genotypes to begin
In The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Covey
two warring paradigms
that now compete for
our society's hearts and minds:
personality ethic versus the
Public figures from the President to the city commissioner
have attempted to
discard the character ethic,
with the personality ethic.
In this context, character no longer matters,
as charm and personality
can win the support of the gullible masses.
We have now experienced a whole generation of "press box politicians"
who, having no ethical core or genuine convictions,
rely totally on opinion polls, buzz words, or
current trends for leadership
direction, pandering to the basest of human instincts.
Contrasting the results of the personality ethic with the
Covey warns, "If our words and our actions come from superficial human relations techniques (the personality ethic) rather than from our core (the character ethic), others will sense that duplicity." In other words, an individual relying only on personality, even if he is trying to express goodness,
will be seen for a fraud.
He illustrates the dichotomy between the character ethic and the personality ethic by using an analogy of a baseball as compared to a basketball. A baseball, representing the character ethic, has a firm core, a hard-rubber center that we can compare to God's law. Around this foundational nucleus, layer upon layer of string (representing instruction) is wrapped over time. The horsehide cover compares to the personality, which is firmly stitched to the teaching and the essential core by God's Spirit.
Conversely, a basketball stands for the personality ethic.
While it may have a handsome leather cover,
nothing supports it but air.
Lacking a core, it is
inflated, vain, and ostentatious.
Without God's Spirit,
the heart of man is
hostile to God and His law
As we saw earlier, Jeremiah opts for a
godly heart transplant,
a procedure that Ezekiel also describes:
I will give them an undivided heart
and put a new spirit in them;
remove from them their
heart of stone
and give them a heart of flesh.
Then they will follow My decrees and be careful to keep My laws. They will be My people and I will be their God.
(Ezekiel 11:19-20, NIV)
He considers this principle so important that he repeats it in Ezekiel 36:26-27. True goodness can neither be faked nor externally attached to impress another. Without a change in the roots, we cannot hope to see a change in the fruit, yet with God's Spirit placed at our core, the spiritual fruit of goodness (Galatians 5:22) will emanate from within.
In the Bible, the word leprosy is mentioned upwards of 40 times, depending on the Bible version being used. Leprosy was common in Bible times, and the many references to it were well understood by those who lived in unsanitary conditions. The main reason why leprosy is talked about so much in the Bible is that it is a graphic illustration of sin’s destructive power. In ancient Israel leprosy was a powerful object lesson of the debilitating influence of sin in a person’s life.
God had given the Israelites very specific instructions on how to deal with leprosy and other skin infections (Leviticus 13). Anyone suspected of having this disease had to go to a priest for examination (Leviticus 13:2-3). If found to be infected, “the leprous person who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head hang loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean.’ He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease. He is unclean. He shall live alone. His dwelling shall be outside the camp” (Leviticus 13:45-46). The leper then was considered utterly unclean—physically and spiritually.
Incurable by man, many believed God inflicted the curse of leprosy upon people for the sins they committed. In fact, those with leprosy were so despised and loathed that they were not allowed to live in any community with their own people (Numbers 5:2). Among the sixty-one defilements of ancient Jewish laws, leprosy was second only to a dead body in seriousness.
A leper wasn’t allowed to come
within six feet of any other human,
including his own family.
was considered so revolting
that the leper wasn’t
permitted to come within 150 feet
of anyone when the
wind was blowing.
Lepers lived in a community with
until they either got better
This was the only way the people knew
to contain the spread
contagious forms of leprosy.
The Bible records the story of a leper
who was the first to be healed by Jesus
to be learned from this incident is that
sin defiles us in the
sight of God,
but through Christ, we can
be healed of the plague of sin
separates us from God.
repulsive to Him.
sin bans us from
the presence of God
because God will not allow
His sight and presence
(Psalm 5:5; Habakkuk 1:13; Revelation 21:27).
This is not only true
with a sexual connotation
that are normally
as filthy and repulsive,
includes all forms of disobedience
(1 Samuel 15:23; Proverbs 15:9).
All sin is abhorrent
But those who have been redeemed from sin
by grace through faith in Christ
can stand in God’s presence in full confidence
that we are accepted
“in the Beloved,”
and we praise Him
for the grace He extends to us for that purpose
When we’ve captured a glimpse
holiness and purity of God,
we have to exclaim as did the prophet Isaiah,
“Woe to me … I am ruined!
For I am a man of
and I live
among a people of unclean lips, and my
eyes have seen the King,
the LORD Almighty”
Our attitude toward sin
in the light of our Savior
should echo the words
: “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”
(Luke 5:1-8). Another key lesson we learn from the leper in Matthew’s Gospel is that just as the leper did, we can confidently approach Jesus in all our need, with all our sin and defilement.
When we plead for cleansing and forgiveness, He will not turn us away
(Hebrews 4:16; Psalm 103:12).