There is a really big deal here. Deceit is defined as “the action or practice of deceiving someone by concealing or misrepresenting the truth.” I must live a life of truth and shun deceit and hypocrisy. Jesus is always clear on this.
In essence, “hypocrisy” refers to the act of claiming to believe something but acting in a different manner. The word is derived from the Greek term for “actor” — literally, “one who wears a mask”—in other words, someone who pretends to be what he is not.
Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Master. | 1 Peter 2:1–3 (NASB)
The Bible calls hypocrisy a sin. There are two forms hypocrisy can take: that of professing belief in something and then acting in a manner contrary to that belief, and that of looking down on others when we ourselves are flawed.
Truth is the alternative to hypocrisy. Jesus is the truth. When I am face to face with Jesus, I see my own issues in missing God’s goal for my life. If I pretend that isn’t true, I am a hypocrite. I need to get right with Jesus. I need to know the truth. The truth sets me free. Now that is some stunning news.
Jesus is clear. Jesus detests hypocrites. Jesus calls it out all the time. My contempt allows me to ignore its reality in my life. I must change my mind (aka repent). My nature, along with all of us, is one that is fallen, and I constantly miss God’s goal (aka sin). I try to cover that up by appearing to be a good person. I am not.
Master Jesus, the anointed King and Messiah, Son of God,
have mercy on me, a sinner!
There is good news. Jesus came to redeem me from this spiral of hypocrisy. I have the Spirit of God producing fruit in my life.
During Jesus’ earthly ministry, He had many run-ins with the religious elites of the day, the Scribes and Pharisees. These men were well versed in the Scriptures and zealous about following every letter of the Law (Acts 26:5). What would Jesus say today?
- Hebrews 10:22 — let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
- Psalm 24:3–4 — Who may ascend into the hill of the Master? And who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood And has not sworn deceitfully.
- Psalm 26:4 —I do not sit with deceitful men, Nor will I go with pretenders.
- Psalm 32:2 — 2How blessed is the man to whom the Master does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit!
- James 3:17 —But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.
- James 4:8 — Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.