Today's Bible Study, Authored by Arthur Cincotti. 01/08/2023
Listen to our Bible Study Discussion at: Hypocrisy Podcast
Or watch the Video Zoom Session of our Study on YouTube:
The Curse of Religion
“Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world” Jas. 1:27
Two reasons I’ve chosen to study, and consider hypocrisy are because, 1) it is one of the strongest condemnations that the Lord Jesus wielded in some of His discourse, and 2) because it is the most common criticism wielded against believers.
I think that it is important to note that in a culture that has essentially jettisoned any semblance of moral standard, absolute truth, or universally accepted virtues, hypocrisy is still rejected, sneered at, abhorred, and pretty much considered as disgusting.
Hypocrisy is a complicated word. Some synonyms would include: insincerity, pretense, and double mindedness. The Greek definition refers to being, “under as mask” and refers to a stage actor playing a part. The generally accepted meaning is the act of when one’s outward actions contradict their inner convictions, or their professions of such.
Jesus first usage of the word is found in the “sermon on the mount,” Mt. 6:2-16. In three instances, calling out charitable deeds, prayer, and fasting, Jesus declares, “hypocrites” proclaiming that, when the practice of the above are engaged in for the “approval of men,” other than obedience to God, a deep insincerity lies at the core of the action. His condemnation is, “I say to you, they have their reward” and that reward is temporal.
Later, in Matthews gospel Jesus is speaking more specifically to the scribes, Sadducees and Pharisees, the religious leaders of that culture, directly calling them out as, “hypocrites!” for outwardly professing adherence to the law, while inwardly clinging to all forms of corruption. See Mt. 15:1-9, Mt. 16:1-4, Mt. 22:15-21
all of Mt. 23.
Finally, in a parable Jesus uses very powerful language, “and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Mt. 24:45-51
Since Jesus spoke so forcefully against hypocrisy, it might be wisdom for us to carefully consider this evil.
James speaks of this evil in ch. 3:13-18, saying, “wisdom that is from above is...without hypocrisy.”
As believers we feel the weight of this condemnation from the world. Though we intend to live righteously before men, we fail miserably.
Like Paul, in Rom. 7:15 we scarcely understand our actions; “For what I am doing, I do not understand, For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.”
Except for one caveat; we don’t claim to be perfected. The only thing we rightfully claim is to be Christs’; that is, belonging to Him.
That’s why Paul can say in the next chapter, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus”
Notice that the condemnation of “hypocrisy” is typically from the world, and “the world” is clearly confused about everything.
This doesn’t let us off the hook from walking in repentance. It grieves the Holy Spirit when fall short of the glory Christ purchased for us.
We hold in tension this harsh condemnation of hypocrisy by Jesus and His continuous extension of forgiveness (I Jn. 1:9)
We’re not perfect, and don’t claim to be, so there is no hypocrisy, but we are forgiven. The world knows nothing of this.
But they should. We should tell them!!!
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