Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Why are there hypocrites in the church?

If you dislike hypocrisy in the church, you have a lot in common with Jesus!

Christ soundly denounced hypocrisy (Matthew 23). Yes, there is sometimes hypocrisy in the church, for two reasons. First, some people professing to be Christians are not! There are some people sitting in pews on Sunday, wearing crosses around their necks, or preaching loudly on TV that are counterfeits. They are participating outwardly for reasons other than a saving relationship with Christ as their Lord and Savior. Many have allowed the culture to mold them, rather than the reverse, as Christ commanded.

But secondly, the imperfections of Christians reinforce the important truth of the biblical message about man's sinful nature. Being a sinner is, you might say, a requirement for being a Christian! Yet there is a distinction between a hypocrite and a sinner. The word hypocrite applies to a person who pretends to be something he is not. A Christian recognizes his sinful nature, acknowledges it, and repents of it (daily, even hourly). All hypocrites are sinners, but not all sinners are hypocrites.

Christian morality is the purest, most sublime in all of history. Indeed, it is the perfect morality. While history records abusers of Christianity, one should not judge Christianity by such charlatans. Repentant followers of Christ constantly seek to "do the right thing" and thus hopefully become less of a stumbling block to those looking from the outside at what a Christian says and does. The quality of an authentic Christian's life will fluctuate, but over time it should mature and progress towards (but never reaching) Christlikeness.

It is unwise to compare the life of one believer with the lives of others. It is more valid to compare what he is now with what he was before coming to Christ. But being a Christian really does not mean being related to a set of rules whereby we can measure self-improvement. Ultimately, Christianity really stands or falls on the person of Jesus, not the performance of Christians. We worship the perfect Christ, not imperfect Christians.

In other words, we bow to GOD not man!

Thanks for reading.


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