January 7, 2016


We call someone a hypocrite when he or she tries to make people think they are someone other than whom they really are.  It is like someone who has a part in a drama.  To tell the story, they may act out the part of someone who isn’t even living anymore.  That really isn’t hypocrisy, because everyone knows what they are doing.  It becomes hypocrisy when someone tries to give everyone the impression that they are an innocent, peace loving person when, the truth is, he or she is the opposite of the person they pretend to be.

When Jesus was here on earth he confronted the scribes and Pharisees and accused them of being hypocrites.  In Matthew 23:27-29 we read, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.   Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous.” Jesus knew what they were within.  In Matthew chapter three we find that many of the Pharisees came to be baptized by John the Baptist.  In Matthew 3:5-6 we read “Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan,   and were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.” It is very likely that the Pharisees were afraid they were going to lose the esteem they had with the Jews because so many were following John.  Rather than risk that loss, they decided they too better get in line to be baptized by John.  When they stood before John, he said to them, “O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” In verse 8 his advice to them was, “Bring forth fruits meet for repentance.”

In Acts 19:4 we read that John’s baptism was called a “baptism of repentance.”  “Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” The biblical word “repentance” means a change of mind.  It is what takes place when we face the reality of sin in our life and make a decision to turn from it.  Genuine repentance will manifest itself in the way we live.  Those who were baptized by John did so after they heard him preach and were convicted of their sin.  His baptism didn’t wash away their sins.  It was a public acknowledgement that they had made a decision to make some changes in their way of living.

We can identify hypocrites because what they say and do doesn’t correspond with what they profess to be.  People always expect to gain something by being a hypocrite.  Sometimes corrupt business men start attending a church.  Their reason for doing so is that they hope to attract some of the people in the church to their place of business.  Many times hearts have been broken because some young man was attracted to a girl who is a Christian and a faithful church member.  He knows that he can’t win her unless he becomes a Christian.  Therefore he makes a profession of salvation, is baptized, and joins the church.  Not long after their marriage, however, he drops out of church and starts showing his true colors.

The excuse some give for not going to church is that there are hypocrites in the church.  In a way, they themselves are being hypocrites when they say that.  They are saying that they think they are just as good as, if not better, than some people in the church.  It is doubtful that there is a church so pure that hypocrisy never manifests itself in some manner. “There are hypocrites in the church” is just another lame excuse for not attending church.

In religious circles is not the only place that hypocrisy manifests itself.  We often find it among politicians.  When they campaign before the election they say what they know people want to hear.  When they get in office, however, they forget about their promises.

All of us are capable of identifying hypocrites.  Most often we have to get to know them before we see that they aren’t all they profess to be.  It gives us a satisfaction to be able to recognize hypocrites.  We need to be careful because it is possible to overlook hypocrisy in ourselves.  None of us are so good that we never yield to the temptation to profess to be something more than we are.  Perhaps our hypocrisy isn’t as blatant as that of some others, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

God wants us to be transparent.  Humble people don’t hide their true nature.  I Peter 2:1-3 exhorts us to be without hypocrisy.  “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,  As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:   If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.”

Questions and comments can be sent to us at the following address:  rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net






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