Hypocrisy is an outward pretense masking an inner reality. Jesus condemns hypocrisy, especially in matters of faith. As a follower of Jesus, I should express my commitment to God in my words and my deeds, as well as in my inner motivation. There should always be alignment of my heart, my mind and my actions.
Jesus is clear and 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).
The Greek word is ὑποκριτής (hupŏkritēs, hoop-ok-ree-tace) meaning an actor under an assumed character (stage-player), i.e. a dissembler and hypocrite. Am I acting or am I transparent, speaking the truth?
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. You are not. We are not.
The expression of hypocrisy through Insincere motives
Hypocrisy is expressed a number of ways. I have insincere motives, what I do isn’t aligned with what I say or think, and my tendency to judge others.
A constant theme here is am I doing things for God or to get honor and praise from others. Avoiding public displays of religiosity is essential.
- Matthew 6:2 (NASB) — “So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.
- Matthew 6:5 (NASB) — “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.
- Matthew 6:16 (NASB) — “Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.
- Matthew 15:7–9 (NASB) — “You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far away from Me. ‘But in vain do they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’ ”
- Matthew 22:18 (NASB) — But Jesus perceived their malice, and said, “Why are you testing Me, you hypocrites?“
- Matthew 23:5–7 (NASB) — “But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments. They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men.”
There is some great news
I am a new creation through the salvation work of Jesus on my behalf. My missing God’s goal (aka sin) has been paid for. I am forgiven. I have been given the Holy Spirit as a powerful force to mature as I learn as a follower of Jesus.