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What the Bible says about Avoiding Hypocrisy
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Deuteronomy 27:11-26

Looking at the underlying commonality of the Ebal-curses—that they focus on secret sin—we may conclude that the six tribes on Ebal represent those church members whom we could call “wolves in sheep's clothing,” in whom God finds unrepented sin, individuals living a secret life, closeted in some way, hypocrites.

Conversely, we may conclude that the six tribes atop Mount Gerizim symbolize those people in God's church who exhibit sincerity and wholeness of heart, unwavering commitment to keeping the principle inherent to the Feast of Unleavened Bread—and, by extension, living their entire lives—“not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (I Corinthians 5:8).

Those on Gerizim, unlike their fellows on the Mount of Cursing, represent individuals who break their bread with “singleness of heart” (Acts 2:46), fully committed to abandoning all sin, no matter how stubbornly closeted it may have been at one point in their lives, no matter how tenacious its addiction, no matter how much carnal pleasure it might bring. On Gerizim stand, symbolically, those of God's people who, recognizing the damnation of the charade, have firmly rejected living a double-life. Those who so shun sham and find no pleasure in the mask really do stand on the Mountain of Blessing!

Charles Whitaker
Unity and Division: The Blessing and the Curse (Part Five)

Acts 24:16

Paul was a principled man guided by a strong conscience. His entire life displays a devotion to doing what he thought was in accordance with God's will, his conduct reflecting that sincerity. His actions as a Pharisee were governed by many of the same biblical principles extant after his conversion. In a sense, he became a Christian because God persuaded his conscience that it was the right thing for him to do. In other words, when God converted him, He did not change Paul's conscience but his perception of what was right—of what God's will actually was.

The Bible reveals Paul, prior to his conversion, as one who was sincerely wrong. His actions did not reflect the actual will of God, but instead, those of a man determined to do what he sincerely believed was “wise in his own eyes” (Isaiah 5:21). In Acts 26:9, Paul admits, “Indeed, I myself thought I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.”

We should be wary of such misguided sincerity. Yet, if we strive, like Paul, to avoid hypocrisy and follow our conscience in all matters, God's judgment will take our motivations into account (Proverbs 21:2; Romans 14:22-23; I Timothy 1:13).

Martin G. Collins
Is Your Conscience a Good Guide?


 




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