- God hates hypocrisy for many reasons…one being hypocrisy misuses religion, taking advantage of its laws and decrees for self-advancement. Hypocrites want religion—even the Christian faith—only for the advantages they gain from it. They fail to truly turn their hearts to God and do good to God’s people.
Jesus used the wicked Pharisees to illustrate the topic of hypocrisy.
- Luke 12:2-3 states: 2 The time is coming when everything that is covered up will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. 3 Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be shouted from the housetops for all to hear!
At the judgment, all hypocrites will be revealed. That is a scary thought, isn’t it?
Everyone hates hypocrisy. But do you want to know just how God feels about it?
The harshest words that have ever been spoken by the Son of Man, the Lord Jesus, were around the areas of hypocrisy. In fact, the most significant words of reproof He ever uttered were toward the most religious people on the planet:
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”
“You snakes! You brood of vipers.” (Matthew 23:27-28, 33)
In Ephesians 5, God reveals why He has zero tolerance for it.
We are called to “walk as children of the Light.” But walking – or living – this way is not about being perfect. It’s about being authentic.
When unbelievers see and interact with Christians who are authentic, they begin to see that maybe all Christians aren’t a bunch of hypocrites. As a result, they are more open to receiving God’s love and forgiveness through a relationship with Christ.
Hypocrisy—presenting ourselves as something that we know we’re not—is one of the most subtle and dangerous of sins.
Jesus warned the disciples (Luke 12:1), “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.” Leaven spreads subtly and pervasively until the whole lump of dough is affected. Hypocrisy deceives the hypocrite, damages unbelievers, and dishonors God Almighty.
Has anyone ever deceived you? I know they have me and it was surely not a good feeling. However, at the time you believed them, didn’t you? Otherwise, you would not have fallen for their deception. But then something happens to many people after this they try to cover it up because they are embarrassed they fell for the deception and don’t want people to think bad of them. We just need to learn to just admit we were duped, and just tell it like it was/is. Lies and coverups never make things better…not for you…and not for the one you thought you had to cover it up too.
Hypocrites don’t get into hypocrisy deliberately by thinking, “I’d like to bring God’s judgment down on myself by being a hypocrite. That sounds like the way to go!” Rather, due to pride, they think, “I want people to respect me. If they knew what I was really like, they wouldn’t respect me. So I need to keep up a good front. Besides, everyone does that to some extent.” So he tries to impress others, forgetting that God examines the heart. He ends up deceiving himself in the worst way. At the heart of this process is this basic principle: The thing is that the person being the hypocrite knows what they are doing…and in their soul they know it is wrong yet they still chose/choose to be it. Many know the truth of what they are doing, and many that know the truth just misapply it. It is our heart that God looks at. We can con people but we can never once in our life con God. The hypocrite themselves is deceived because many will boast in God in some way but dishonor God because they honor themselves. Most hypocrites just want to impress others in some way. Hypocrites tell others how to live and act, but they don’t think it applies to them as well.
- Matthew 23: New Living Translation
- Jesus Criticizes the Religious Leaders
- 23 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 2 “The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses.[a]3 So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach. 4 They crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden.
- 5 “Everything they do is for show. On their arms they wear extra wide prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside, and they wear robes with extra long tassels.[b]6 And they love to sit at the head table at banquets and in the seats of honor in the synagogues. 7 They love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi.’[c]
- 8 “Don’t let anyone call you ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters.[d]9 And don’t address anyone here on earth as ‘Father,’ for only God in heaven is your Father. 10 And don’t let anyone call you ‘Teacher,’ for you have only one teacher, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you must be a servant. 12 But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
- 13 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces. You won’t go in yourselves, and you don’t let others enter either.[e]
- 15 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you cross land and sea to make one convert, and then you turn that person into twice the child of hell[f]you yourselves are!
- 16 “Blind guides! What sorrow awaits you! For you say that it means nothing to swear ‘by God’s Temple,’ but that it is binding to swear ‘by the gold in the Temple.’ 17 Blind fools! Which is more important—the gold or the Temple that makes the gold sacred? 18 And you say that to swear ‘by the altar’ is not binding, but to swear ‘by the gifts on the altar’ is binding. 19 How blind! For which is more important—the gift on the altar or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20 When you swear ‘by the altar,’ you are swearing by it and by everything on it. 21 And when you swear ‘by the Temple,’ you are swearing by it and by God, who lives in it. 22 And when you swear ‘by heaven,’ you are swearing by the throne of God and by God, who sits on the throne.
- 23 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens,[g]but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things. 24 Blind guides! You strain your water so you won’t accidentally swallow a gnat, but you swallow a camel![h]
- 25 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and self-indulgence! 26 You blind Pharisee! First wash the inside of the cup and the dish,[i]and then the outside will become clean, too.
- 27 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. 28 Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.
- 29 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you build tombs for the prophets your ancestors killed, and you decorate the monuments of the godly people your ancestors destroyed. 30 Then you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would never have joined them in killing the prophets.’
- 31 “But in saying that, you testify against yourselves that you are indeed the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Go ahead and finish what your ancestors started. 33 Snakes! Sons of vipers! How will you escape the judgment of hell?
- 34 “Therefore, I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers of religious law. But you will kill some by crucifixion, and you will flog others with whips in your synagogues, chasing them from city to city. 35 As a result, you will be held responsible for the murder of all godly people of all time—from the murder of righteous Abel to the murder of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you killed in the Temple between the sanctuary and the altar. 36 I tell you the truth, this judgment will fall on this very generation.
- Jesus Grieves over Jerusalem
- 37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me. 38 And now, look, your house is abandoned and desolate.[j]39 For I tell you this, you will never see me again until you say, ‘Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!’[k]”
There is so much in the Bible on the topic of hypocrisy. We are not supposed to be a hypocrite. If we are being one then it needs to stop. Let us each examine ourself and see if anything in us is acting like a hypocrite and if it is…then ask God to help you change. Our God is willing to help us, to cleanse us, transform us, and use us to do His will…and to do it His way. This is a very important subject to study and this is no where here complete. I hope you take the time to study this subject. Maybe you are not a hypocrite at all…buy maybe someone hurt you by being one. The more you and I know about a subject God cares about the better we can see the issue and we learn what to do to fix it in our life.
Now, may God bless you, protect you, guide you, teach you, and may He give you His glorious peace. God bless you!