Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Holy Hypocrisy

You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law.
(Romans 2:23 – ESV)

Here in this passage of scripture Paul is not trying to get people to be more moral, he is trying to get them to see that no one is without hypocrisy. Some are more so than others, of course, but all are guilty when it comes to doing what is right. We tell others what is right, and we actually believe what we say, but we also fall short. This doesn’t let anyone off the hook, though; just because everyone does it doesn’t mean it is right, and it doesn’t mean that God excuses it, He does not. That’s the point, and we are without hope if we are without a savior.

Now the answer is not to stop preaching against stealing, lying, hypocrisy and sin, just because we have done it or are doing it. The idea is to preach against it but also to preach Christ as the answer to it. Why do we still preach against the very things we have been guilty of? Why, because God wants us to that’s why. Because these things are wrong that’s why. Because we all need help and we need to know that we can’t make it without Christ, that’s why. Because we should be reminded that these things are not in the character of God, not in the will of God, and not what God wants for us and that we should be ridding ourselves of these things, that’s why.

It is not like you have to be perfectly morally pure in order to speak out against sin, what you need to be is on Repentance Road, and using the standards of the Word of God, that person has the authority to speak to issues. I may not be perfect, and I may have had certain sins, and I may still have much sin, but I can and should and must still speak out against sin. If you are on the repentant road, you have the right, and the obligation to preach about sin. Just make sure you preach Christ as well.

Paul said he was not perfect, that he had not arrived, but that sin was still exceedingly sinful, and that he was forgetting what was behind and pressing on to Christ. These Jews of Paul’s day were looking around saying, “yeah society stinks, they are all rotten and on the road to hell”, to which Paul is saying back to them, “yeah, you are right, but hey, you guys, you have the law, the right moral code, and yet you do some of the same things too, so what does that make you, it is actually a little worse isn’t it?” Today, many claim the name but they dishonor and shame, and with the lives they lead they show they aren’t led. Don’t fool yourself.

To some Paul would say, “You say you are giving God the glory He is due but by your actions you do not.” The cause of Christ suffers in a sense because you don’t live the gospel. Christ would have you live, as you will in heaven. You don’t try, you don’t care about sin in your own life, and you defile the name of Christ and treat salvation as a common thing (Hebrews 10:29-39). Some aren’t doing all the immoral things, but they aren’t giving glory to God, either. They are not humbled before the Master. Rebellion Road has all kinds of moral people on it. Paul is saying that we need to be holy, yes, but we must also be humble. We need to have the right sort of confidence, not in ourselves but in God, and this sort of confidence acts in accordance with what Christ has done, and what Christ would have us do, which is to lead increasingly holy, and yet increasingly humble lives. Don’t fool yourself.

The Jews were fooling themselves. Knowledge of God rightly understood brings humility, not pride, which is what was happening to certain Jews and moralists. We are brought low so that God may be brought high. When you see the depths of your depravity compared with the heights of His holiness, then you can begin to see the measure of God’s love to us. Holy and humble, we must be both: don’t fool yourself.


Even So... said...

Holy humility is the answer to holy hypocrisy...

Anonymous said...

As usual....very balanced. You've touched on both sides of the subject. I get frustrated when I hear people say, "You just need Jesus to come into your heart" because there are many translations/understandings of what exactly that means.

We're depraved, sinful, lunatics (I love that Ted shared that word with us), destined for hell.....that's why we need Jesus. Coming to Him for any other reason will not get us where we want to go! IMO....oops, I forgot the H! :)

Anonymous said...

"Knowledge of God rightly understood brings humility, not pride, which is what was happening to certain Jews and moralists."

This is why God anoints teachers & preachers-to bring people to the place of the Gentile woman noted in Matt.15:

But Jesus answered and said, "It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs." And she said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters' table."
Then Jesus answered and said to her, "O woman, great is your faith!

Her great humility was empowered by, & evidence of, her great faith in the Lordship of Jesus Christ alone. To paraphrase Peter's sentiment in John 6, where else could she go to get this miracle? Thus, she was undeterred by the Christ's greatly humbling initial response to her request & pressed Him while freely acknowledging her lowly position.

"If you are on the repentant road, you have the right, and the obligation to preach about sin. Just make sure you preach Christ as well."


Craver Vii said...

Talking about hypocrisy makes me tense. There is one person I know who thinks that ALL hypocrisy COMPLETELY invalidates a person's authority to preach on a given subject. An example of my personal take on it is that if the Bible says you should not commit adultery, ANYBODY, even the most vulgar prostitute can say, "The Bible says that you should not commit adultery."

Even So... said...

I agree, Craver, the Bible is the authority...

donsands said...

"live the gospel."

Amen. It should be as part of us as our breathing is.

Always a good teaching here to study.

Taliesin said...

This is tough in our society. It's why parents don't want to admit to their kids that they did drugs in high school. Somehow that "invalidates" the parents ability to say that drugs are bad for you.

Jesus said remove the log in your own eye before ... He did not say the log makes you unable to help (and I think that has to be the attitude) a brother in sin. But we have have to be repentant before we can help another repent is what I think Jesus is saying.

Even So... said...

I think you're right...