On Tuesday morning after Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the donkey amid all the hosannas, Jesus delivers a rebuke that is so piercing and so strong the thrust of it will be felt at the Great White Throne judgment by hypocrites of the eons. Jesus warns the people of just who these religious leaders are—hypocrites.
We hear the term, but do we really know what a hypocrite is? Can a Christian be a hypocrite? Will a hypocrite ever be in Heaven?
The Bible has a lot to say about hypocrites. If you look below, you can see a partial word study of the word done by R.A. Torrey. With so much said in the Old Testament about hypocrisy and wickedness, it seems that the scribes and Pharisees would recognize the symptoms of it, and that they would steer clear of it. Sadly, they embraced it. How could these men that had great knowledge of God’s word fall so short of understanding it?
All our battles begin and end in the mind. Freedom of will is the same as freedom of choice. We choose who we love, where we live, what we eat, how we react to our trials and tribulations. We choose not to suffer consequences so we obey our parents. We choose to believe God exists and believe His Word, or we can choose not to believe. As in the passage from Joshua, Choose you this day whom you will serve, as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
We know that darkness prevails in this world because Satan is the prince of this world. However, we do not have to live in the darkness since we are the Light on the Hill. Why remain baby Christians only nourished by milk when we can choose to mature, grow our wisdom teeth and have the steak dinner including dessert? We are to embrace Truth, and sometimes truth is horrible and ugly. That means there are times when we must recognize and deal with the evil of this world. Thank goodness we don’t have to live there. Jesus has spread His wings so we can always find our safe haven under them. He has provided us with the perfect defense tools.
Let’s not forget that our Free Will, when used as God intended, is a crown of glory for Jesus. The very first recognition of free will was from God when He commanded Adam not to eat of the tree in the center of the garden. That was the first command. Before, God just spoke and it was. God opened the door to the decision that had eternal consequences. Jesus shined a light on these scribes and Pharisees who decided to exercise their free will in opposition to God against His Son. Thus they exemplified all the attributes of hypocrites.
Jesus gives us several clues in his Woes diatribe against the hypocrites of His day, which, remarkably, is pertinent to the hypocrites of today.
1. They live a lie. They teach one thing and do the opposite.
2. They love exaltation, and what they do, they do it for men’s praises.
3. They have no clue about being great as an elephant means being least as an ant.
4. They are stumbling blocks and road blocks to anyone seeking God’s face and salvation.
5. For their own enrichment, they practice wicked ethics in business and in church. They are full of lawlessness.
6. They teach their ways to as many as they can spreading their wicked ways like cancer.
7. They put great emphasis on nitpicky things and neglect justice, mercy, and faith.
8. They neglect cleansing their hearts.
9. They build flamboyant monuments to great prophets and the righteous, but choose not to practice the words and ways of the people they memorialize.
10. They are guilty of murder in their thoughts, and capable of murder in deed.
Recognize anyone you know?
Jesus said these people were whitewashed tombs full of dead men’s bones. That means they looked like a living person and taught how to obey God therefore to live a righteous life, but they were actually spiritually dead. Unless they had a change of willfulness, they would never reach Heaven. Those that remained on that deliberately chosen path are suffering great torment in Hell today. That fate is in store for all hypocrites down through the ages.
Yes. A Christian can act like a hypocrite on occasion, but are not whitewashed tombs filled with dead men’s bones. Telling our children not to smoke while we puff like a chimney is being hypocritical. Jesus was talking about a lifestyle.
The Corinthians are great examples of believers choosing not to grow up. It took two letters from Paul for them to wake up to reality. However, the Jews had seared consciences. They were willfully blind. God wanted them to be jealous of the grace extended to the Gentiles so the scales on their eyes would fall (Romans 2:26-29). Instead, most of them chose to clutch at those scales as if they were lifeboats leaving a sinking ship.
R.A. Torrey gives us a great word study on what the Bible says a hypocrite is, and here is just a portion of that:
God knows and detects Isaiah 29:15-16; Christ knew and detected Matthew 22:18; God has no pleasure in Isaiah 9:17; Shall not come before God Job 13:16.
Willfully blind Matthew 23:17,19, 26; Vile Isaiah 32:6; Self-righteous Isaiah 65:5; Luke 18:11; Covetous Ezekiel 33:31; 2 Peter 2:3; Ostentatious Matthew 5:2,5, 16; Matthew 23:5; Censorious Matthew 7:3-5; Luke 13:14-15; Regards tradition more than the word of God Matthew 15:1-3; Exact in minor, but neglect important duties Matthew 23:23-24; Having a form of godliness 2 Timothy 3:5; Seeking only outward purity Luke 11:39; Professing but not practicing Ezekiel 33:31-32; Matthew 23:3; Romans 2:17-23; Practicing lip-worship Isaiah 29:13; Matthew 15:8; Outwardly zealous in the things of God Isaiah 58:2; Devouring widows' houses Matthew 23:14; Loving pre-eminence Mat_23:6-7; Their conscience is seared 1 Timothy 4:2;
Worship from them is not acceptable to God Isaiah1:11-15; 58:3-5; Matthew 15:9; Destroy others by slander Proverbs 11:9. When in power they become a snare Job 34:30.
Examples of hypocrites (besides the scribes and Pharisees):
Cain Genesis 4:3; Absalom 2Sam.15:7-8; The Jews Jeremiah 3:10; Judas Matthew 26:49; Herodians Mark 12:13,15; Ananias Acts 5:1-8; Simon Acts 8:13-23.
Recognize anyone you know?
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