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Bible verses about Hypocrite
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Deuteronomy 21:18-21

We can dishonor our parents through stubbornness, mocking, scorning, angrily talking back to them, thievery, and violence. These will eventually be punished by death, shame, disgrace, darkness of understanding (ignorance), and destruction. Through greedy human reasoning, the Pharisees encouraged financial neglect of parents to increase the riches of the treasury, a hypocrisy Jesus condemned (Matthew 15:3-9; Mark 7:6-13).

Martin G. Collins
The Fifth Commandment


 

Proverbs 23:7

In one sense, what we are cannot be hidden. This proverb cautions a person to understand that people can be two-faced, playing the role of an actor or a hypocrite. The words that come out of the mouth may be far different from what the heart really means. The heart, however, cannot really be hidden; it will reveal its true intentions and feelings in time. It is good to understand this and thus protect ourselves.

John W. Ritenbaugh
What Is Prayer?


 

Matthew 21:19

The fig tree was deceptive due to its leaves. Normally, a leafy fig tree would be pleasing, since a fig tree in leaf indicates that it has ripe fruit. However, this tree had no fruit. The first figs normally begin to appear before the leaves, but as the foliage increases, the fruit ripens. Since the leaves could be seen from “afar off,” it was misleading because it had not borne any fruit.

It is true, as Mark says, that “the time of the figs was not yet,” but that only meant that the normal time for figs had not yet come. The fig tree appeared to be producing ahead of schedule, giving the appearance of doing something it was not. The tree represents a hypocrite, who gives the appearance of being something he is not. This hypocrisy was the condition of the religious leaders of Jesus' day, and it is also the condition of many today.

The Jewish leaders professed to have what no other people had, a relationship with God, but were in reality shallow, simple, and phony; there was plenty of outward show but no real conviction. They lacked truth, righteousness, and goodwill. And though they professed a great desire for the Messiah, they rejected Christ when He came to them. Hypocrisy was their dominant characteristic when it came to spiritual matters.

The arrogant priests, scribes, and elders, along with their elaborate rituals of the Temple, were all just leaves on a fruitless tree. Their heart was still malicious within, and true devotion for God and His truth was absent. Shortly before His crucifixion, Christ repeatedly called the religious leaders “hypocrites” (Matthew 23:13-15, 23, 25, 27, 29), saying, “All their works they do to be seen by men” (Matthew 23:5). Like the fig tree, they liked to stand in conspicuous places, and also like the fig tree, they had leaves but no fruit.

On another occasion Christ quotes Isaiah in condemnation of the Israelite religious leaders: “Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: 'These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me'” (Matthew 15:7-8; Isaiah 29:13). Speaking to Ezekiel, God describes the hypocrisy of the Israelites then:

So they come to you as people do, they sit before you as My people, and they hear your words, but they do not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their hearts pursue their own gain. . . . [T]hey hear your words, but they do not do them.” (Ezekiel 33:31-32)

Mainstream Christianity is in the same hypocritical condition today. Like the fig tree, many of its members are nothing but leaves waving in the breeze. Many church services are strong on show and weak on substance. The emptier a church is spiritually, the phonier their outward appearance will be.

Jesus' actions here have symbolic importance, signifying the hypocrisy of those who appear to be bearing fruit but in fact are not. The person who lives a hypocritical life will someday discover that he has deceived himself worse than he has deceived others. If we cheat others, our judgment from God may be to have others cheat us. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31).

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: The Withering of a Fig Tree


 

Matthew 21:30

The second son deceitfully professes respect and obedience, but he never does his duty. The contradiction between his word and his work exposes his major character flaw—hypocrisy. It is harder to convince a hypocrite of his true state than a flagrant sinner because, in deceiving himself, the hypocrite follows his own standards and form of godliness (Matthew 23:25-26). Contrarily, the flagrant sinner knows he is evil.

Many in mainstream Christianity profess to know God but deny Him in their works. They appear pious at church, but their personal lives are riddled with sin. They are living a lie, and out of their smooth mouths their deceitful hearts speak (Luke 6:45). Their efforts produce the works of the flesh rather than the fruit of the Spirit. The second son does not go to work because he lives for the moment and never comprehends his father's ultimate plan, its wonderful results, and its long-term benefits.

Martin G. Collins
Parable of the Two Sons


 

Matthew 23:25

Jesus declares the Pharisees "hypocrites" because they looked like they led "clean" lives, but inside they were greedy and self-indulgent. A person indulges himself by taking unrestrained pleasure in his pursuit of enjoyment and showing undue favor to his desires and feelings. By excessive compliance in gratifying our own desires, we pamper, humor, and spoil ourselves. Pamper implies inordinate gratification of desire for luxury and comfort with a consequent enervating effect. Humor indicates yielding to moods or whims. Spoil stresses the injurious effects on a person's character. Self-indulgence is excessive satisfaction of our sensual appetites and desires for the specific purpose of pleasing the self.

Martin G. Collins
Overcoming (Part 8): Self-Indulgence


 

Matthew 24:45-51

In this instance, Christ speaks of two individuals, both servants of God. God finds one to be wicked, the other wise. Note the fifty-fifty split in the context of judging. Christ judges the two servants, blessing the faithful one by setting him over His possessions, cursing the wicked one by cutting him in twain—the ultimate two-part division!

The wicked servant finds himself “with the hypocrites” because, all the while, he has led a double life, pretending to serve God while actually laboring at cross-purposes to God by abusing God's other servants. Like Satan, he has disguised himself as a minister of God (II Corinthians 11:12-15). As a result, he has scattered God's people rather than gathered them (Luke 11:23). Unlike the wise servant, “who walk[ed] not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:4), the wicked servant walked according to his own desires (II Peter 3:3-4; Jude 16-19), all the while feigning faithfulness to God and His work. The wicked servant, like all hypocrites, has led a mock life, one of pretense.

Christ's teachings segue nicely into Matthew 25, where the central theme is the reality of God's judgment and how that reality should affect our thinking—and action. In the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13), the ten virgins represent the entirety of God's people as they go out to meet the bridegroom (verse 1). Their even-split is clear: “Five of them were foolish, and five were wise” (verse 2).

Their destinies were vastly different, though, as the wise were ready for the bridegroom, the foolish were not. Upon the latter “the door was shut” (verse 10). Here, the blessing and the curse is ever so poignantly expressed. We are left with the feeling that the five foolish ones were never true followers of Christ, having failed to renounce all (Luke 14:33). Christ tells them, “I do not know you” (verse 12).

Again, in the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30), Christ mentions two (not three) groups, distinguished by their members' attitudes toward obedience. One group is comprised of those who fulfill their responsibilities by actively growing their talents, no matter how many (or few) God originally gave them. The other group contains those who refuse to grow their talents.

Considering these various examples in overview, we can identify a few commonalities. In them all, we recognize that God is judging, usually in an end-time context. Evaluating a unified group, He detects some type of essential disunion. The unity is superficial, more apparent than real in terms of the level of commitment and obedience He seeks. As a result of this evaluation, God divides the group into two parts—sometimes overtly a fifty-fifty split.

The destinies of individuals in these two new groups differ vastly. One part is blessed, the other cursed. The Scriptures bear no salient indication of a period of church unity at the end. All this is consistent with Paul's comments in I Corinthians 11:19 that “there must in fact be divisions among you, so that those of you who are approved may be evident.”

These examples also illustrate another commonality: More often than not, God's judgment involves an element of surprise, even bewilderment, catching us off-guard—sometimes tragically so. The line of division He creates may be unfamiliar to us, unexpected. His judgment is not what we might expect, or the lines of division are unfamiliar to us. The wicked servant was not looking for the return of the master. The foolish virgins did not expect to run low of oil.

That is all to say that God's judgment is usually athwart ours. His act of division is, in fact, one of reconfiguration along lines that can be quite different to what we are accustomed.

Charles Whitaker
Unity and Division: The Blessing and a Curse (Part Two)


 

Luke 12:1-7

Hypocrite originally had a neutral sense, “someone who answers,” and hypocrisy meant “answering.” Initially, these words were used of the normal flow of question and answer in conversation or discussion. They later became connected with question-and-answer sections in plays, naturally followed by the idea of acting a part. Eventually, “hypocrite” came to describe one who is never genuine but always play-acting. The basis of hypocrisy is insincerity.

Hypocrites inhabit every walk of life, trying to impress others in an attempt to hide who they really are. In the Christian life, a hypocrite is someone who tries to appear more spiritual than he really is. Such a person knows that he is pretending and hopes he will not be found out. His Christianity is a shallow charade.

As the crowds following Him grew, Jesus decided to warn His disciples of this spiritual pitfall. They could easily surrender to human nature, giving in to the temptation either to gain popularity by pleasing the crowds or to avoid trouble by pleasing the Pharisees. Human nature drives us to want people to like and admire us, and it seems so easy to “act the part” that others want to see.

Jesus compares hypocrisy to leaven, symbolizing sin (I Corinthians 5:6-8; Galatians 5:9). Like leaven, hypocrisy begins small but grows quickly and quietly, infecting the whole person and eventually the whole society. When a person is puffed up with pride, hypocrisy flourishes and character deteriorates (I Corinthians 4:6, 18-19; 5:2). Like all sin, it must be stopped before the underlying pride has an opportunity to spread (James 1:14-15). The longer he waits to deal with it, the worse it gets. Nothing can really be hidden (Mark 4:22), which makes hypocrisy foolish and futile. So why keep pretending?

Jesus was perhaps concerned that His disciples might be tempted to compromise the truth to avoid offending the crowds or the Pharisees (see Luke 8:16-18; 11:33). Many who profess to be God's ministers do something like this to remain in their pulpits. God's truth is like light, not leaven, and it must not be hidden.

Jesus mentions “fear” five times in these verses, teaching that a basic cause of hypocrisy is the fear of men. People will do almost anything to avoid embarrassment or harm. When we are afraid of what others may say or do to us, we try to impress them to gain their approval, and our human nature will stoop to deception to accomplish its purposes. Sadly, many of the Pharisees were more concerned about reputation than character—what people thought about them than what God knew about them. The fear of men always brings a snare (Proverbs 29:25), and Jesus wants His disciples to avoid it and be stable in their faith. As Scottish novelist and poet, Sir Walter Scott, wrote, “Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive.”

Martin G. Collins
Beware of Hypocrisy


 

Galatians 6:7-8

God cannot be fooled, and liars seem to forget His awareness. While they mind, or side with, the things of the flesh, they put themselves in jeopardy of reaping what they have allied with - death. We cannot treat His law with disrespect or contempt and get away with it. Just as gravity cannot be tricked, neither can God's law. We are accountable to it whether we wish to be or not.

What we do in life, life does back to us. We cannot escape it! If we sow to death, we will reap death. If we sow to life - eternal life - we will reap life. Jesus asked, "Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?" (Matthew 7:16). A hypocrite cannot fool God's laws, only others and himself - for a while.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Ninth Commandment (1997)


 

 




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