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HYPOCRITES IN THE CHURCH
“…Thou Shalt Not Be As The Hypocrites Are…” (Excerpt from Matthew 6:5, KJV)
Hypocrisy among those of us who profess Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior continues to be a hindrance to unbelievers. And that problem has probably never been more succinctly stated than when Ghandi of India reportedly said this about Christianity: "I like their Christ. I do not like their Christians. Their Christians are so unlike their Christ."
OUCH—that hurts!! But a good dose of the truth is sometimes painful. And to keep from being guilty of the offense ourselves, we must keep such comments in mind as we go about our daily lives. Because once we make a public declaration of faith, the devil paints a bull’s eye on our backs and we become walking targets for such criticism. So whether we like it or not, our demeanor is how we are measured in the eyes of the world. And to make matters worse, the yardstick by which they measure us is the absolute perfection of the sinless Son of God, Jesus Christ!
But can any mere human be perfect? Of course not, because we all fall infinitely short of the heavenly ideal. But those who have received Jesus Christ will ultimately be judged by a different standard. And this is something that the world around us simply does not understand.
Salvation in Christ is similar to certain provisions of the “witness protection program” of our legal system in which guilt is overlooked and the individual spared prosecution! A new identity is received and a change in location is effected to protect them from their enemies. They are guilty according to the law, but turned loose through a plea bargain—a “get out of jail free card” agreed to by the District Attorney’s Office and their lawyer.
However, true Christianity differs from this in that guilt is totally removed and not just overlooked! The individual is a new creature—has a new identity in Christ and a home in heaven:
“Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!” 2 Cor. 5:17 (Amplified Bible).
And when we finally stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ, that which we have done for Him (or failed to do) will be in view and not the sins we committed while on earth. Our reward will be commensurate with those works that the Lord deems to be “gold, silver, or precious stones”, as opposed to “wood, hay, or straw”:
“For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is [already] laid, which is Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). 12 But if anyone builds upon the Foundation, whether it be with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 The work of each [one] will become [plainly, openly] known (shown for what it is); for the day [of Christ] will disclose and declare it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test and critically appraise the character and worth of the work each person has done. 14 If the work which any person has built on this Foundation [any product of his efforts whatever] survives [this test], he will get his reward. 15 But if any person’s work is burned up [under the test], he will suffer the loss [of it all, losing his reward], though he himself will be saved, but only as [one who has passed] through fire” 1 Cor. 3:11-15 (Amplified Bible).
Hypocrisy is a sin that any believer can commit and is nearly always magnified in the eyes of unbelievers because of the doubt it casts upon one’s profession of faith. But even though such incidents will doubtless fall under the classification of wood, hay, or straw and be burned up by the fires of God’s judgment—producing no reward—the individual’s position in Christ and his/her home in heaven will in no way be jeopardized. Due to our “diplomatic immunity” as God’s ambassadors (2 Cor. 5:20), genuine believers will never suffer divine prosecution.
According to the Bible every man, woman, boy and girl will have to answer to a Holy God for their lives. But what the world around us does not understand is that the unit of measurement—“the yardstick”—God will use to judge the believer is entirely different than that for the unbeliever. Those who die without receiving Jesus Christ will be judged on the relative degree of sin they commit while on earth and their eternal punishment in hell will be meted out in proportion to that sin. Whereas believers will be judged on the basis of what they did (or failed to do) for the Lord and then be rewarded accordingly, but their sin will never be taken into consideration! Both were born “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1), possessing the same sinful nature, but the difference in how they are ultimately viewed by God is that the believer’s sin was paid for by Christ when He died on the cross. Therefore, they will spend eternity in heaven because of His sacrifice on their behalf.
And that wonderful and awe-inspiring fact can lead to an attitude problem if we are not extremely careful! Knowing that we will not be prosecuted for our sin is an area of great vulnerability because it gives the devil “an engraved invitation” to attack us. By causing thoughts of, “Why should I be overly concerned about what others think of me, when my name is written down in heaven?” (Rev.21:27), is one way he tempts us to let our guard down and engage in hypocritical behavior. Then anger and resentment by unbelievers is a natural response—especially when it is perceived as being flagrant—and turns off people like Ghandi to the Gospel message. Plus there is the added dilemma of hypocritical behavior among those who claim to be born again while their lives clearly say otherwise.
So to avoid being perceived as a hypocrite we must heed the Lord’s admonition:
“Let your light so shine before men that they may see your moral excellence and your praiseworthy, noble, and good deeds and recognize and honor and praise and glorify your Father Who is in heaven” Matt. 5:16 (Amplified Bible).
Sooner or later all who try to witness to unbelievers will hear the excuse of “hypocrites in the church” being the reason they are not interested. And a good reply to that excuse goes something like this: “It takes a smaller person than a hypocrite to hide behind one!” God will deal with the hypocrite, so the question is this: what is the condition of your soul? Please do not make the tragic mistake—as Ghandi apparently did—of rejecting Jesus Christ because of perceived hypocrisy in some who profess to know Him as their Savior. To do that is similar to refusing a fabulous treasure because someone else acts as if they do not think it is valuable! Millions around the world continue to praise His worth—so are you willing to disregard the strong testimony of the many and allow some weak ones to cheat you out the greatest blessing a human can receive in this life? I sincerely hope not.
If you have been born again and received Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, but have been very lukewarm in your spiritual walk with Him, you need to immediately ask Him for forgiveness and for renewal. He will instantly forgive you, and fill your heart with the joy of the Holy Spirit. Then, you need to begin a daily walk of prayer and personal Bible Study.
If you have never placed your trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior, but have come to sense His reality and the approaching End of the Age, and want to receive His FREE Gift of Eternal Life, you can do so now, in the privacy of your home. Once you truly believe in Him as Lord and Savior, you are spiritually Born Again, and are as assured of Heaven as if you were already there. Then, you can rest assured that the Kingdom of Antichrist will not touch you spiritually. If you would like to become Born Again, turn to our Salvation Page now.
We hope you have been blessed by this ministry, which seeks to educate and warn people, so that they can see the coming New World Order—Kingdom of Antichrist—in their daily news.
Finally, we would love to hear from you. You can write us at:
Cutting Edge Ministries, C/O Pastor Ron Riffe
P.O. Box 26
Gordo, AL 35466
You can also E-Mail Pastor Ronald Riffe regarding questions or comments about this article.
God bless you