The Riches OF GRACE
“hath appeared to all men.” Titus 2:11
Robert W. Reed
“Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speaking.”
I Peter 2:1
+ Playing Acting +
The issue of hypocrisy is addressed in Holy Scripture and the hypocrite is mentioned many times. God hates the sin of hypocrisy and speaks strongly against it. It is a grievous sin against God and man. Christians are called upon to rid themselves of all hypocrisy. Sincerity without hypocrisy should characterize the Saint of God.
“A hypocrite may offer sacrifice with Cain, and fast with Jezebel, and humble himself with Ahab, and lament with the tears of Esau and kiss Christ with Judas and follow Christ with Demas, and offer fair for the Holy Ghost with Simon Magus; and yet for all this his inside is as bad as any of theirs.”
-Thomas Brooks (1608-1680)
In this article, we will consider three areas in the subject of hypocrisy: the meaning of hypocrisy, the marks of hypocrisy and the chief end of hypocrisy.
The Meaning of Hypocrisy
Hypocrisy is the opposite of sincerity. It is a phony virtue or piety. An outward show or appearance of good with inward corruptness. It signifies an actor or stage player, that is, a pretender. It is the pretense to be what one really is not and especially the pretense of being good when one is not. The Greek word hypokrotes refers to a “play actor”, or one who wears a mask to represent an identity other than his own.
In Matthew 6:1-2, 5, 16. The Lord Jesus criticizes hypocrites for being pious in public as they gave alms, prayed and fasted, while their interest was in human praise. They wanted to be known among men as being godly and yet their hearts were removed from the Lord God. In Matthew 7:1-5, the word hypocrite is used to describe the self-righteous brother in his judgment of others. The text speaks of hypocritical judgment, pretending to be free from fault or to judge when guilty of great or greater sin. The hypocrites vision is blinded according to verse 5.
The same word (hypocrite) is used of Christ’s judgment on the scribes and Pharisees who set themselves as judges of others while themselves were outwardly clean but inwardly filthy in Matthew 23. In Luke 12:1, the Lord gives warning of the leaven of the Pharisees which was hypocrisy. Even though the Lord required repentance for the harlots, adulterers and drunks, He had much compassion, but He pronounced sever condemnation on the hypocrites of His day.
The Marks of Hypocrisy
There are two kinds of individuals among God’s professing people, the sinners of Zion (hypocrite) and the godly according to Isaiah 33:13-15. The hypocrite has only an outward show and has no fear of God. The true Christian is a worshipper of God in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24). Among God’s people there has always been a mixed multitude (Exodus 12:37-41; Numbers 11:4-9; Nehemiah 13:1-3, 19-27).
In Matthew 23, Jesus pronounces eight woes on the scribes and Pharisees and He calls them hypocrites seven times (verses 13, 14, 15, 23, 25, 27, and 28). According to verse 28, they were full of hypocrisy and iniquity, “Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” Please notice, in verse 3-4, the hypocrites walk is contrary to their talk, for they were known by what they said and not by what they did. In verse 5-6, the hypocrites love the praise of men more than the praise of God. They wanted to be recognized by men. In verse 7-12, the hypocrites think highly of themselves. That is, they thought best of self, and worst of others. They love titles, honor, position, and prominence. In verse 13, the hypocrites never embrace a whole Christ, for Jesus was not their Lord and Savior. They may receive Christ in one office but not another. As one author put it, “They want Christ’s happiness but not His holiness.” In verse 14, the hypocrites were self-serving. All that he does is for gain for he makes himself the end of his service. In verse 15, the hypocrites make other hypocrites. They reproduce themselves and gravitate toward each other. In verses 16-22, the hypocrite has no Holy appetite. That is, they disregard the Word of God and are always looking for loop holes. They pick and chose what they want. In verse 23, the hypocrites neglect their spiritual requirements. They were not condemned for tithing but for over looking more important matters. In verse 23-24, the hypocrites choke on truth. They had no conscience of the spiritual aspect of its teaching and were obsessed with minute things and over look important things (strain at a gnat and swallow a camel). In verses 25-28, the hypocrites are satisfied with eternals. They neglected inner cleansing (heart). According to verses 32-39, the hypocrites shall be judged.
The Chief End of Hypocrisy
When the Lord speaks of the judgment of the hypocrite in Matthew 24:51, He makes reference to the weeping and gnashing of teeth. In Matthew 7:20-23, the hypocrite loses everything in hell while the prophesying in Christ’s name, claiming gifts and working miracles. Please examine yourself (II Corinthians 13:5) to know your true state. For “without holiness, no man shall see God” (Hebrews 12:14). In Matthew 5:8, the Lord Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” As the Scriptures say in Psalm 139:23-24, we must search our own heart and ask God to reveal any sin or hypocrisy within us.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts;
And see if there by any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
An hypocrite cannot mourn for sin as sin, nor grieve for sin as sin, nor hate sin as sin, nor make head against sin as sin. Mark, (1.) to hate sin is not merely to refrain from sin, for so Balaam did, even then when he was tempted to it (Num. 22). (2.) To hate sin is not merely to confess sin, for so Pharaoh and Judas did, (Ex. 10:16, Mat 27:4). (3.) To hate sin is not merely to be afraid to sin, for this may be where the hatred of sin is not. (4.) To hate sin is not merely to mourn because of the dreadful effects and fruits that sin may produce, for so Ahab did, and the Ninevites did. He that fears sin for hell, fears not to sin but to burn, but he hates sin indeed who hates sin as hell itself.
- Thomas Brooks
So are the paths of all that forget God; and the hypocrite's hope shall perish: Job 8:13
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” Acts 16:31
Victory Baptist Church
Pastor Robert W. Reed
14473 Bellingrath Road
P.O. Box 257
Coden, Alabama 36523