Friday, October 17, 2014

I am a Hypocrite

Have you ever felt like a hypocrite? like those around you seem to hold you in such high esteem, yet you feel as if you're really just a let-down?  I certainly feel that at times.  I may teach a Bible class, I may author this blog; but when I look at my life, sometimes I think Wow, I still am so far from where I should be.  I've gotten so many things wrong.  I'm a hypocrite.

Jesus talked a lot about hypocrites, actually.  In Matthew chapter 23, He addresses them with "Woe to you," "Woe to you," "Woe to you" (Matthew 23:13, 15, 23, 25, 27, 29).  Six times He uses this phrase.  Jesus definitely isn't happy with hypocrites.  

So what does it mean to be a hypocrite?  A definition of a hypocrite is "a person who claims to have moral standards or beliefs to which his own behavior does not conform."  Ouch.  According to this definition, I suppose we're all hypocrites.

Or are we?  Although Christianity is not merely a moral standard, the Bible does lay out quite the formidable standard: perfection, basically.  To be holy as God is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16).  So why didn't Jesus just say "Woe to everyone," since none of us are perfect?

Quite fortunately, our moral perfection (or lack thereof) is not what gets us to heaven.  The perfection of Christ, who took our place, is what allows us to enter into the glory of the Father.  The miracle of the gospel is that we don't have to be perfect in and of ourselves in order to be saved, nor do we claim to be perfect.  

You see, that was the problem of the Scribes and Pharisees, whom Jesus regularly called hypocrites.  They claimed to follow the law, to be perfect, essentially, but their behavior was far from it.  For us as Christians, however, perfection is our goal, not our requirement.  We claim to continually submit to Christ, and so we should do.  We claim to allow Him to change us each day, and so we should do.

We are not hypocrites.  I am not a hypocrite.  You are not a hypocrite.  We may make mistakes, but we can take them to Christ (1 John 1:9, 2:1).  However, this is far from an excuse to keep on sinning (Romans 6:1).  Don't let your failures leave you depressed, feeling like a hypocrite.  Use them as a reminder of your perpetual need for the grace of Jesus Christ, and find joy as He continually removes those things so that you and I can become the instruments He has created us to be.