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The Issues With Hypocrisy (Part 2)

Updated: Dec 21, 2021

By bro Lee Tian Seng


Put demands on others

A hypocrite imposes strict moral standards on others and tends to be unmerciful in judging over them. In finding fault with others, a hypocrite validates his or her self-righteousness and self-worth, and also diminishes the guilt of his/her hypocrisy.

The Pharisees expected others to comply with their high moral standards or rules. Our Lord Jesus said that they “bind heavy burdens” on others that they themselves refused to bear.

Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers (Matthew 23:3-4).

Hypocrites also tend to judge others hypocritically, meaning that they are quick to point out the fault in others but do not examine or see their own faults.

And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Judge not, that ye be not judged (Matthew 7:3-5).

4. Destroy the faith of others

Hypocrisy in the lives of Christians, when uncovered, is often damaging to the faith of those who are deceived. A common complaint from Christians who have fallen away and non-believers is that the church is full of hypocrites. We hope this is not true, yet there is evidence of it. We cannot deny the fallibility of some Christians in this aspect of Christian living, but it is not a justifiable reason for being unfaithful to God.

Hypocrites often stumble others. Paul rebuked Peter when Peter withdrew from eating with the Gentiles after seeing some men (presumably with reputable Jews) arriving from James. His act caused the Jews to behave in the same hypocritical way and even Barnabas was stumbled. Peter’s act was inconsistent with his belief and the truth that God had extended the Gospel to the Gentiles. This fact had been established in Jerusalem when the apostles met Paul and others as recorded in Acts chapter 15.

Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy (Galatians 2:11-13).

The scribes and Pharisees destroyed the souls of their followers by their false teachings, traditions and hypocrisy. They “shut up the kingdom of heaven” from others and refused to enter it.

“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in” (Matthew 23:13).

5. Deny reward and salvation

A hypocrite already receives his or her reward when people praise and honour them for their ‘good works’ and ‘religious living’. So, there remains no more reward for them in Heaven.

It is sad that hypocrites have lost their reward for trying to gain the praise of men.

Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward (Matthew 6:2).

Our Lord Jesus said that the scribes and Pharisees would receive “greater condemnation” for their evil deeds and hypocrisy. The punishment will be “greater” in the sense that they, who are teachers of the law, knowingly did evil under the cloak of religion and deceived others with their self-righteousness.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation (Matthew 23:14).

Let us be aware of the sin of hypocrisy and be fearful of the condemnation one will receive from the Lord.

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