Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Are All Christians Hypocrites?

“If we say, “We have no sin,” we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” 
– 1 John 1:8

In the English language the word hypocrite gets a lot of mileage! A hypocrite is a person’s whose public statements and life are inconsistent with their private life. The word hypocrite evokes a certain level of distain and distrust in everyone. What many point to as inconsistency among professing Christians is what it appears to be. Even Jesus made the point that hypocrites exist among God’s people. For example Jesus taught us the importance of prayer, fasting, and giving for kingdom advancement. Jesus also gave his harshest warnings and correction to those who did the things he taught from the wrong motivations and for the wrong rewards. Jesus discourages his followers from making long public prayers, making sure that our fasting draws attention to our self-righteousness, and parading our gifts at church and to the poor (Matthew 6:2, 5, 16). Jesus calls these people out for being real hypocrites among God’s people (Matthew 23:13-33; Mark 7:20-23). While Jesus never called his disciples hypocrites, our Lord did make it clear that there will always be hypocrites mixed in among true disciples (Matthew 13:24-30).

So the real question is, how can we know the difference between a true believer and a hypocrite? Both true disciples and hypocrites have sin and inconsistencies in their life. I would encourage you to remember that perfection is the final step in the life of a believer (Romans 8:30). We are reminded by the Apostle Paul that we are being “transformed into the same image (the image of Jesus Christ) from one degree of glory to another (2 Corinthians 3:18).” For a true disciple, one is continuing to change each day to become more like Christ. The Apostle Paul reminds us that while we are changing, we will still “stumble in many ways (James 3:2).” I think we must ask ourselves the following questions in order to think correctly about ourselves (Romans 12:3):
  • Do we agree with God about the sin in our life? (1 John 1:9)
  • Are we seeking to fight the sin in our life? (1 Peter 5:4-11)
In World War II, the bloodiest battles for our troops was between D-Day, on June 8, 1944, when we broke the enemies back by taking the beaches at Normandy, France and VE-Day, on May 8, 1945, when we finally defeated the axis of evil. In the same way, Christians will lose many battles and the battles will often be most difficult after trusting Jesus Christ, but if we repent of our sins and truly trust Jesus we will be victorious. So no, not all Christians are hypocrites, but we are honest in our struggle to be more like our perfect, Holy, King Jesus!

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