Praise the Lord.
Have you ever heard the excuse I can’t go to Church there are too many hypocrites there?
Unfortunately the words “sinner” and “hypocrite” are being confused. The confusion is one found between what one is and what one does. Sinner is the generic term of what “one is.”
Scripture says all people are found in this category, both in and outside the Church. Everyone falls short of the perfection of God which makes them a sinner. Being a Hypocrite is specifically what one does. Since hypocrisy is a sin, we can say, all hypocrites are sinners. But not all sinners are hypocrites.
Those who dislike the church and its explanation of mans predicament bring this confusion by the statement “The church is full of sinners, so all sinners are hypocrites. Therefore the church is full of hypocrites.
But there is an obvious problem with this parallel. Let me give an illustration which makes this clearer. The church is full of sinners, murderers are sinners therefore the church is full of murderers. This would be very unfair and clearly inaccurate to say. In the same way jail has murderers therefore all who are in jail are murderers. Another example is certain cars go very fast, so and so was caught speeding in his car. Therefore everyone who buys this certain car will speed and break the law.
God says in Isa. 9:17: “… for everyone is a hypocrite and an evildoer, and every mouth speaks folly. For all this His anger is not turned away, but His hand is stretched out still.” God loves the hypocrite in and outside the church and wants them to repent to become part of the Church.
It’s a lot safer inside the church struggling to be honest than outside. Job 13:16: “He also shall be my salvation, for a hypocrite shall not come before him. “Proverbs writes bad company corrupts good morals. Do the people who go to church become better or worse? Now ask yourself do people who don’t go to church become better or worse.
What happens when unsaved people see those who attend church sinning? They think to themselves, “That person is supposed to be a Christian, Christians are not supposed to sin, since that person is sinning, he’s a hypocrite.”
They assume that a Christian is one who claims that he does not sin. In reality, it’s just the opposite. For someone to be a Christian, they must first admit to be a sinner. Being a sinner is a prerequisite for being a Christian. One becomes acutely aware of their condition not only at salvation but through their life. The Christian church is exclusively the only group of people that requires a public acknowledgement of sin. They are admitting they have a condition seeking a remedy. Actually the Church has fewer hypocrites than any other association because the definition of the Church is a hospital for sinners, all kinds. If the Church ever claimed to be an association of perfect people then it certainly would be hypocritical. But the Church has never claimed this. To answer the charge that the Church is full of sinners is an accurate statement, one we accept. To say it is full of hypocrites is not!
Prov. 11:9: “The hypocrite with his mouth destroys his neighbor, but through knowledge the righteous will be delivered.” In the Hebrew language a hypocrite means- hypocritical, godless, profane, hypocrite, irreligious. This means those who are outside the church and those inside who are not being genuine in their attempt to allow change in their life.
Jesus called the religious leaders hypocrites because they knew better. Matt. 7:5: “Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Jesus told us if we are going to correct someone in their activity we need to first see that we are not doing the same. Strong’s Concordance defines hypocrites as; an actor under an assumed character (stage-player), i.e. (figuratively) a dissembler.
Thayer’s defines it as 1) one who answers, an interpreter 2) an actor, a stage player 3) a dissembler, a pretender, a hypocrite. What I find interesting is that President Clinton, in some people’s eyes, is the pattern of what a hypocrite is. And yet no one cares. He speaks on family values and is found unfaithful; he then lies to the public, the people nearest to him and the grand jury. Yet, everyone is willing to look the other way. Why is it that America can forgive a politician of gross hypocrisy and then find fault with the church (Mr. Clinton goes to church doesn’t he)? Personally, I think because they are no different than he is.
The Church is neither full of hypocrites nor empty of hypocrites.
Christian’s can be guilty of all sorts of sins, including the sin of hypocrisy. Though the church may not be full of hypocrites, it is by no means empty of them. Christians are not above pretending to be more righteous than others. Nor is everyone in the church who professes to be a Christian a true believer. There are various forms of hypocrisy and most of them are obvious to some level in the church. Christ Himself stated the church would grow having a mixture of “tares and wheat” of true believers and false (see Matt. 13:24-30).
Some “unbelievers” become church members only, not because they willfully choose to deceive others but because the church had never made it clear to them what a profession of faith consists of. They simply have never heard the Gospel correctly. Or maybe they struggle with certain flaws and know all too well their own shortcomings.
Yet there are those in the church which involve an insincere profession of faith. Some people join the church under false motives. In many communities it is still respectable to be a member of a church. Some people join for social reasons others because they have friends or family who have been members. There are businessmen that preserve membership because it provides contacts for their business relationships. It gives them a certain respect as well, so this is done in a disingenuous manner.
No one can fairly disburse the accusation of hypocrite and not look at themselves as one also. There are many who say I don’t want to be a Christian because all the hypocrites go to church. This shows that they are even more of a hypocrite then those they criticize.
Businesses are full of hypocrites but the same person who sees an opportunity to make money doesn’t have this stop them do business with these people. People see married couples have their spouses cheat on them, but that doesn’t stop that same person from getting married or staying a confirmed bachelor.
TV is filled with hypocrites, liars and cheats. Most of the talk shows glamorize them, but people will still watch TV. Advertisements are hypocritical but they don’t stop buying the products because of it. Some used car salesmen can certainly fit the bill for this category, yet no one will stop buying cars because of their intense sales rap.
Politicians are some great examples of hypocrisy, but we still vote hoping the one we choose will be honest and keep his promises. Examples are not lacking to show the illogic of all this. Hell is filled with hypocrites and those who complain about hypocrisy won’t do a thing to keep themselves from going there and joining them. Job 27:8: “For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away his soul?”
The biggest hypocrite is one who wants us to think he is trying to avoid others who he calls hypocrites but are just like he is. True, the church does have its share of hypocrites, but in reality, it has a whole lot less than anywhere else. Overall they are at least honest about their shortcomings and admit they are sinners, while others won’t. They are at least open and trying to reform.
The only step one can make from their own hypocrisy is to admit, they like everyone else are not perfect and need the forgiveness the Christ offers. Then they can have the assurance of heaven instead of hell. The fact is there are hypocrites in all walks of life not just in religion. If you let a few hypocrites stop you from becoming a Christian you may well end up spending all eternity with them. The Church never claimed to be perfect and if you find the perfect church you may not want to join it, because you may ruin it by your hypocrisy. At least be consistent and honest in assessing yourself as you do others.
Till next week,
Blessings Bishop Buzzkill