Are Christians Hypocrites?

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Are Christians hypocrites?  Do believers lead a dual life?  Are they living in duplicity?  Why do Christians believe in God and yet live contrary to His values?

What is a Hypocrite?

The word hypocrite is actually an old word for mask.  The Greeks used masks when they performed on stage to play multiple characters.  They used a mask called by its Greek name, “hypokrites”.  The Greeks had actors who played several characters in the same play.  The mask allowed them to play different characters without having to leave the stage to play a different one.

Are Christians Hypocrites
The church is composed of believers that are far from perfect – but they are forgiven

Living in Duplicity

The church is composed of believers that are far from perfect – but they are forgiven. Most Christians understand that they are not perfect and are a work in progress.  Sanctification or growing in holiness is a lifelong process that will never be completed in this life.  We will be perfected only on the day of Christ’s return. Until then, we will all struggle and we will all no doubt sin.  The difference is that the honest Christian will confess their sins to one another and daily to God.  The transparency of a Christian is what makes it attractive to non-believers.  The unsaved person is drawn to Christ and to the church by confessing Christians.  When believers acknowledge that they still struggle with sin every day, this gives the unbeliever hope.  They see that they will never be good enough to be a Christian.  Its not saints that need forgiveness- it is sinners.  Christ said He came to those who need a physician or those who need to be healed of their sins.  When a sinner admits their sinfulness, this is actually the first step in redemption process.

In 1 John 4:17 it says, “In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the Day of Judgment, because in this world we are like him.” Further, in Philippians 1:6, Paul says, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”  Who will complete this process?   It is “He” or Jesus Christ who will complete this at the day of His visitation.  I am not saying that we are not to strive to be obedient, but we are not saved by our works but we are saved by His work that Jesus completed on Calvary. When Jesus said, “It is finished” this meant that the saving work of redemption was completed by Jesus Christ (John 19:30).  Those were perhaps the greatest words ever uttered.  The greatest words ever spoken by the Greatest ever born of a woman: Jesus Christ.  It was finished!  He finished the work of salvation but we still mightily struggle, day by day, with our sin.

A Christian Hypocrite

I hope believers will take seriously the fact that Jesus Christ’s reputation is diminished in the sight of the unbelieving world when we live in disobedience.  We can tarnish the cross of Christ and we can actually do more harm than good.  Jesus detests the lukewarm believers (Rev. 3:14-19).   I have co-workers who profess the name of Christ but do not possess the name in their lifestyle.  They swear, tell dirty jokes, gossip, and put others down.  This is not living Christ-like.  The name Christian means to be Christ-like.  Many speak “christianeese” or play “churchianity” but they may not actually be Christians.  The Apostle John gives an outstanding litmus test to see if a person who claims to be a Christian actually is or is just playing church.

First John 2:3-11 says, “We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands.  Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard. Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining. Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness.  Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.”

Here is how we know who is a Christian:

If they keep His commandments (v 4).

If they obey His word (v 5).

If they live as Jesus did (v 6).

If they do not hate their brothers or sisters but love them (v 9-10).

Are Churches Full of Hypocrites?

I once heard of a friend who had ordered a hamburger at a restaurant.   When he took a bite of it he was disgusted with it.  It was undercooked and soggy.  Now, since he was dissatisfied with it, did he make a pledge to never have a hamburger again?  No, he never had a hamburger at that restaurant again but he loved hamburgers and so he found another, better restaurant which had better hamburgers.  The same application goes with churches.  A believer that is dissatisfied with the teachings of a particular Bible should not make a pledge to never again attend any church, but he or she should find another church that teaches out of the Bible.  To suggest that one bad experience at a church should make Christians never attend another church again is the same as promising to never have a hamburger again just because they got a bad one.

If a Christian attends a church that does not teach out of the Bible they should find another church that does.  To make a judgment that all churches are not good because of their teachings or because the church membership is cold and unloving or is full of hypocrites, is to make a sweeping judgment that all churches are like this.  This is simply not true.  The church definitely does have hypocrites.  There are many who are not living as they should.  They behave one way at church and then behave differently in public.  This does not mean that all Christians are hypocrites or are living a life of duplicity.  Someone that says they feel that the church is full of hypocrites, I can tell them that there’s always room for one more.  And if you find a perfect church, don’t join it – you’ll ruin it.  So would I.

Separating the Sheep from the Goats

I have had many tell me that they are “carnal Christians” but I have not been able to find carnal Christians in the Bible.  In fact, on the day of Jesus visitation, those who have been playing church and do not have a real relationship with Jesus Christ will be facing the shock of their life – but then it will be too late.  Listen to these fearful words that Jesus spoke in Matthew 7:13-23:

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”

The point is that a Christian should bear good fruit.  If they do not, they are not attached to the True Vine.  A good tree doesn’t produce bad fruit.  Every tree that does produce bad fruit is destined to be “thrown into the fire.”  And not “everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’, will enter the Kingdom of heaven” but only those who do the will of God, not just talk a good talk but walk the walk.  Even more frightening is the statement that Jesus makes that “many will say to me on that day…” but Jesus tells them “plainly, I never knew you.  Away from me, you evildoers!?”  There are fewer Scriptures that are more sobering than Jesus’ words in Matthew 7.  If you are uncertain today about your salvation that is found only in Jesus Christ, read this from Romans 10:9-13, “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”  To believe means you trust in, rely on, lean upon, and obey.  Rather than only professing and confessing Him, Jesus is interested in you possessing Him.  Click on the “Come to Jesus” link at the top of this webpage to be sure of your salvation.  Come to Jesus – while there is still time (2 Cor. 6:2).

Resources:

New International Bible (NIV)
THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Image: Sura Nualpradid / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa January 23, 2012 at 8:00 am

Dear Jack,
I found today’s article very convicting, we all at sometime or another have been hypocrites and how hard it is not to follow the ways of man. Let me ask you this though… I was raised in a Christian home and my parents tried to teach me Christian values, through my teen years and into my twenties I was like a lost soul… I believed that Christ died for my sins and that all should live like Him but chose to do things my way. Within the last 5 years I have really struggled with giving it all to God and not trying to do things on my own. Lately I have felt convicted and am really making the effort to lean on God. Does this mean that I am not saved? It scares me deeply to know that my name may not be in the Book of Life.

Reply

Jack January 23, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Lisa, I believe that you are fine. Why I say that is the fact that you are concerned about not being in the Book of Life. The very fact that you are convicted about your faith shows me that the Holy Spirit is with you and if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, then you are safe and secure in Him (John 6:37, John 10:28-29).

The word “believe”, as in believing in Jesus means trusting in, having faith in, relying upon, and leaning on the Solid Rock Who is Christ. The word believe is an old English word which means to “be living” that means you are living the Christian life. Please click on “Come to Jesus” and read these Scriptures and if you believe in these verses, then you are absolutely secure in God’s care. Please let us know what response you have with this. I really want to know since this website is dedicated to showing people the way to Jesus Christ and eternal life.

To be sure, please, I beg you, read this article and let us know what you think….PLEASE. This article is called “Can A Christian Lose Their Salvation? http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/can-a-christian-lose-their-salvation-a-biblical-analysis/

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Lisa January 24, 2012 at 7:20 am

Jack,
I read the article that you gave me and I came to the conclusion that I have a gift and that gift is God. Through His undying grace I have been saved. I am so thankful that I have found this website and can ask any question and you direct me straight to where it is in the scriptures. Every day is a new day and that day was given to my by God, I am begining to be more mindful of my actions and words each day and I am hoping that I can give this to my children so that the love of God can be passed down generation to generation. Thank you so very much for your words of encouragement. God bless you!!

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Jack January 24, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Lisa, thank you so much for your comment. I appreciate your visiting us also. I love your comment that every day is a gift from God. So true. I pray for God to use me everyday and thank Him for life itself. I truly believe that your children are blessed to have such a mother with a goal of reflecting the love of God in their life. Please come back and bless us again with your words of encouragement Lisa.

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ann stokes January 28, 2012 at 8:16 pm

I have a cheating husband that ha been cheating on me for years and he think he is ging to haven. he think that saved always saved,no matter he. text do. hr in my bed ar ite when he thnkhat i am sleep.she is married also.

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Jack January 28, 2012 at 8:27 pm

Ann, I am so sorry for you and for him too. No one that is saved goes on sinning as 1 John 3:9 says, “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.”

The Bible also says, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” (I Cor 6:9-10)

You must warn him and if he will not hear you, pray for him, and if this doesn’t work, keep praying and perhaps write down these two scriptures. Truly, the man does not seem to be saved by his actions. The other woman is also in danger of hell fire. Don’t be shy as we are told to warn those as Jude did (the book just before Revelation) in Jude 1:8-11, “In the very same way, on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people pollute their own bodies, reject authority and heap abuse on celestial beings. But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” Yet these people slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct—as irrational animals do—will destroy them. Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.”

I will pray with you but you must show him these Scriptures and verse in love for God doesn’t want anyone to perish.

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Debbie July 22, 2014 at 5:35 pm

I am a breast cancer survivor and do believe in the Lord. I met a man that introduced me to his Church before I was told I had cancer. I joined his Church and was saved by our Pastor. While I was going through treatment, I wasn’t always able to go to Church. We did marry when I was finished with my treatment, he wanted to marry me. After being married for 2 years, my ex cheated on me with someone that also went to our Church. They both sang in the choir so I guess that is how it started. I had a feeling that something was going on because he changed in the way he treated me, but I never suspected anyone from his Church. His Mother always went to Church and now I feel he only went because he wanted his mom to think he was a good man. He did do meth and smoked weed but no one knew, or I guess they didn’t. He had done it for years and probably still does. He always told me that if you gave money to the Church that you would be blessed, so he gave even if he didn’t attend that Sunday through his mom. Living with this man was wonderful at first, I did not do drugs and didn’t know much about meth. He told me he quit using after I was saved but I don’t think he did. Living with him when he was home was like a roller coaster. After 4 years I couldn’t take anymore and moved out. He was my second marriage and I really loved him. I was married to my first husband 21 years but did not go to Church but I always believed in God. When I married my 2 husband he was on his 3 marriage. He always blamed his ex’s for why they divorced. I don’t understand how some Pastors bless multiple marriages and now I am afraid to find a new Church because of what happened there. I have not been with a man or even dated in 3 years but he married her about 8 months after our divorce was final. His new wife is also on her 4th marriage. I don’t understand why they are better people than me just because they show up Sunday and I don’t. I have never did the things that he has did in his life, so are they better people than me? I went through so much with cancer and now he knows no man will want me because of my mastectomy. It seems to be true since no one has asked me for a date or even shown an interest in me. I didn’t do anything wrong and I struggle everyday while they live the good life. So he must of been right about the giving part, as long as you give you have a good life ticket and can do whatever you want as long as you say sorry to God. I prey everyday and I still sit lonely and cry a lot. I always think about him and what I could of done to make things different. I don’t want to still think about him but I do. I ask the Lord to help me get over him but I still think about him all the time, even though there were bad times but there were good times too. Please pray for me to forget him and his wife. I think what hurts the most was I was sick and he didn’t let me get better before he cheated on me.

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Jack Wellman July 22, 2014 at 7:57 pm

Debbie, what a Job-like life you have lived. We don’t hear many life accounts such as yours. I don’t know how you are going to make it. I will most certainly pray for you Debbie. Thank you for being so transparent here. You asked “how some Pastors bless multiple marriages” and that tells me that this church is not living out the biblical model and these pastors will stand before God and give an account and many of these so-called Christians will hear these terrifying words someday from Jesus’ own lips (Mat 7:21-23) “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” I fear this man and your other husband, and certainly those women may be headed for a Christ-less eternity (Rev 20:11-5) but you will hear, “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness” (Mat 25:21).

I wish I could give you more comfort but eternity a long time, for these others time is short, and their paying for their sins will never end.

You also said “why they are better people than me just because they show up Sunday.” No, they are not better people, they will face Christ and vengeance will be the Lord’s, that you can be sure of and no one will escape God’s ultimate justice. I would rather be in your shoes that day than theirs…even so, I will pray for you Debbie. I am so sorry.

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Debbie July 24, 2014 at 12:13 am

Thank you so much for responding to my post and praying for me. I am really lonely and have been for a long time. Your kind words of wisdom meant a lot to me. I am afraid to trust people but I am still going to try to find a Church to go to. I will visit many and hope I find one I feel is real. Thanks again and may God bless you for the good things you do to help others.

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