June 15, 2011

Holiness and Hypocrisy

Matthew 7:1-6

Rid yourselves of all … hypocrisy …
1 Peter 2:1


What would you think of a pastor who routinely lied or a marriage counselor who had an extramarital affair? The word hypocrite would probably come to mind.

A hypocrite tries to project a personal image that is false. For example, a hypocrite can pretend to live by moral principles while pursuing a lifestyle that defies the gospel.

The call to rid ourselves of hypocrisy is an invitation to adopt a lifestyle consistent with Christ-centered faith: “Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature” (Romans 13:14).

Who is a hypocrite? It could be any or all of us. Every honest Christian struggles with inconsistencies between faith and life. The apostle Paul acknowledged this when he said, “I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing” (Romans 7:19).

The critical difference between a struggling believer and a calloused hypocrite is desire. Getting rid of hypocrisy means developing a heart that grows to hate evil and “cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9). God’s children live by this motto: “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33), in God’s strength, of course.

Is your desire consistent with God’s?

Lord, create a pure heart and renew a steadfast spirit within me. May your Spirit teach, counsel, and direct me in your truth. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Calvin Hoogendoorn

Rev. Calvin Hoogendoorn serves as senior pastor of First Christian Reformed Church in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Previously he served two churches in Illinois. He and his wife, Carla, have three daughters.

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