DEFINITION: Hypocrisy is the claim or pretense of holding standards, beliefs, qualities opinions, virtues, and behaviors that one does not actual possess. In a biblical sense, a hypocrite confesses and claims salvation and spiritual maturity when they are actually void of these qualities. Some versions of the Bible translate “hypocrite” as “godless person.” A hypocrite is one who acts a false part, makes a false profession, and is a deceiver, imposter, and cheater.
FACTS ABOUT HYPOCRISY:
Hypocrisy is instigated by Satan. The Word describes Satan as a “liar,” and that is exactly what hypocrites do: They lie and deceive. 1 Timothy 4:2 speaks of “deceiving spirits”, and that is what operates in the lives of hypocrites.
Hypocrisy is sinful. Because lies and deceit are condemned by God, they are sinful.
There are hypocrites in every realm of life. Just as you would not judge all businessmen by one dishonest businessman, do not judge true believers by what you see in the life of a hypocrite.
Jesus taught against hypocrisy. He condemned the Pharisees, who were the religious leaders of the day, for their hypocrisy. See Matthew 6:2-6 and Matthew 23:13-32.
Hypocrites are legalists. First Timothy 4:3 states that hypocrites forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods. They demand of others what they, themselves, do not adhere to (Matthew 23:2-3).
Hypocrites are critical. Jesus described them as being concerned over a “speck of sawdust” in the eyes of others, while ignoring the “plank” in their own eyes (Matthew 7:3-5).
Their worship is in vain. Jesus said that hypocrites honor Him with their speech, but their hearts are far from Him, so their worship is in vain (Matthew 15:7-9).
Hypocrites look good on the outside. By outward appearances, you might think they are true believers, but they are not (Luke 11:39-44).
Hypocrites teach demonic doctrines. According to 1 Timothy 4:3, deceiving spirits and things taught by demons cause people to abandon the faith.
DEALING WITH HYPOCRISY:
Ask God to forgive you if you have been living a hypocritical life. Hypocrisy is sin, and as all sin, must be confessed and forgiven.
Study the Word of God. The Word is truth and will help you live in truth rather than by deceitful doctrines that foster hypocrisy.
Separate yourself from hypocrites. Do not make hypocrites your close friends because you become like those with whom you associate (Proverbs 22:24).
Do not sit under the teaching of hypocrites. If the life-style of your minister, teacher, or spiritual leader does not line up with their confession, do not continue to sit under their teaching. It is deceptive and will cause you to depart from the faith (1 Timothy 4:1-2).
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT HYPOCRISY:
For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he may gain much, if God takes away his life? (Job 27:8, NKJV)
The hypocrite with his mouth destroys his neighbor, But through knowledge the righteous will be delivered. (Proverbs 11:9, NKJV)
So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (Matthew 6:2-6)
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:3-5)
You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.” (Matthew 15:7-9)
The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. (Matthew 23:2-3)
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are. Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? You also say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gift on it, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? Therefore, he who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. And he who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it. And he who swears by heaven swears by God’s throne and by the one who sits on it. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices–mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law–justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. 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 dead men’s bones 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. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our forefathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of the sin of your forefathers! You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? (Matthew 23:13-32)
These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men. You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men. (Mark 7:6-8)
Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? But give what is inside [the dish] to the poor, and everything will be clean for you. Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all
other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone. Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces. Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which men walk over without knowing it.” (Luke 11:39-44)
Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time? (Luke 12:56)
Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely. (Luke 20:46-47)
The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. (1 Timothy 4:1-2)