Hypocrisy and Repentance

Last time we met we talked about what happens to those who suppress the truth

When we suppress the truth – When we ignore what is plain to us – What happens is we become numb to it – We start to believe the lie that we’ve been telling ourselves

When we ignore all that God has shown us in His creation – (i.e. the sunrises, the sunsets, the stars, the trees, the animals) – When we ignore everything that screams “God!” eventually these things will stop screaming to us

That internal motivator of ours will become silent – And what will happen is our minds will become corrupted

We will not know what is good and right – Instead we will become confused and begin thinking that bad things are good, and good things are bad

We will call evil good, and good evil

And the reason this happens is because we “suppress the truth” – We reject what is plain to us – And in the process we reject God

So, we’ve been studying Romans

This is what Paul tells us in Romans 1

In chapter 1 Paul is specifically talking about the Gentiles of his day (Gentiles are people that are not Jews)

In chapter 2 Paul shifts gears and begins to talk about the Jews

The reason he does this is to build his case against the whole of humanity (Jews and Gentiles) – That we are all under condemnation

Why does he do this?

Because before we are willing to take the medicine, we need to be convinced that we are sick

And that is Paul’s point, he is saying, “We’re all sick, and if we don’t take the medicine, we will die!” – It doesn’t matter who you are – If you’re human it means you

So, let’s get into chapter 2 and see what God has for us?

Romans 2:1-11

Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. 2 We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. 3 Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.
6 He will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11 For God shows no partiality.

So, Paul just got finished talking about the unrighteousness of the Gentiles

That the Gentiles suppress the truth that is plain to them and as a result become corrupted

They look up into the sky and know that God exists, but they ignore Him – And as a result they heap judgment on themselves – And on the Day of Judgment they will have no excuse before God – Because what they knew was plain to them – God will hold them accountable to what they knew

But now Paul turns to the Jews, and he basically says the same thing

Perhaps, if I were to paraphrase Paul’s words they would be something like, “You Jews have no excuse either, don’t judge the Gentiles, because you do the same things as they do!”

Verse 1 says, “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?” Romans 2:1-3

What I want us to consider tonight is this statement:

God hates hypocrisy, but loves repentance

What is hypocrisy?

Hypocrisy is when I claim to have higher standards or beliefs than I actually do – It’s saying one thing and doing another

What is repentance?

Repentance is when I feel a deep sense of regret for what I did, and I stop doing it

God hates hypocrisy, but loves repentance

You see, when Paul was writing this letter, the attitude the Jews had over the Gentiles was that of superiority

They thought that they were okay with God – I mean, they were the chosen ones of God. Right! – They had the Scriptures of God – They had the Law of God – They had the promises of God – They had the blessings of God!

So, they thought, if there was any rebuke it would be directed to the Gentiles – It is the Gentiles that “suppressed the truth” not them – It is the Gentiles that don’t know God, not them

The Jews would say, “Hey, we’re okay, we go to synagogue all the time, we don’t suppress the truth like those heathen Gentiles – We’re God’s people – We know God!”

And Paul would say, “No you don’t! If you knew God you would not be a hypocrite”

Verse 1 says, “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things” Romans 2:1

You see, you can’t know God and be a hypocrite

Sure, someone who knows God can be hypocritical at times, but when he realizes it, he quickly repents of his hypocrisy

But if someone is always judging another person, and does the same things he does, he is a hypocrite – Often times, he doesn’t even realize it – It’s who he is

And Paul is telling us here that the Jews of his day are hypocrites

Why are they hypocrites?

Because they judge the Gentiles, then turn around and do the very same things that they just judged

What did Jesus have to say about this?

Well, in Matthew chapter 7 Jesus says, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:1-5

Jesus basically says, “If you don’t want to be judged by God, then don’t judge others”

Whoa! What is Jesus saying here? Is He saying that we are not to judge anyone?

Absolutely not!

Verse 3 says, “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” Matthew 7:3

What Jesus is saying is, “If you’re going judge anyone, you better not be a hypocrite” – “If you’re going to judge someone, your sight must be clear, you can’t have a ‘log’ in your eye”

The key word here is “notice”

Jesus says, “Why do you see the speck that is in you brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” Matthew 7:3

This is what causes us to become hypocrites – It’s when we don’t “notice” that we do the very same thing that we’ve become a judge against

How does this look in our own lives?

What does hypocrisy look like?

One example could be when a father tells a son, “You better not smoke son” – Meanwhile he’s puffing on a cigarette

Or when mom says, “I don’t want to catch you watching those rated R movies” – Then later that night watches a rated R movie

Or when an older brother tells a younger brother, “I don’t ever want to see you drinking” – And no sooner after those words leave his lips he takes a drink

We know these statements are hypocritical, so why do we do them?

Perhaps it’s because we don’t “notice” that we are hypocritical – We don’t notice the “log” that’s in our eye

So, are we called to judge?

Absolutely! – But we better not be hypocrites in the process

Jesus says, “First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye Matthew 7:5

Okay, back to Romans

Paul says in verse 3, “Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?” Romans 2:3

Again, he’s speaking to the Jews here

And what he’s basically saying is, “You Jews, don’t think that just because you have the Law of God (i.e. The Scriptures) you will escape the judgment of God – If you have the Law, if you know what is right, then do it!

But we know that they don’t do it

We know from the gospel accounts that Jesus was most critical with those that knew the Law best, that is, the Pharisees

Why?

Because they did not do it – They did not keep the Law – But more than this, they saw themselves as keeping it – That’s why Jesus continually called them “hypocrites”

They know what they ought to do, but don’t do it – They tell others how to live their lives, and don’t live it themselves – They are hypocrites!

Well, Paul goes on, verse 4 says, “Or do you presume on the riches of his (i.e. God) kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” Romans 2:4

 

What Paul is saying here is, “You Jews, yes it’s true that you have the Word of God, but you take it for granted, you presume on God’s riches – But you don’t get it  – You don’t get that God’s riches are meant, or designed, to lead you to repentance”

In other words, “God’s goodness is not for you to control, to manipulate, to make yourselves look better in the eyes of men – God’s goodness is meant to lead you to repentance”

God hates hypocrisy, but loves repentance

The goodness of God is meant to lead us to repentance, not to set ourselves above those that don’t know God

This is easy to do, isn’t it?

It’s easy for us as believers to set ourselves above non-believers

What are we doing when we do this?

We are being hypocrites – Because we do these things ourselves

God hates hypocrisy, but loves repentance

Paul goes on, verse 5 says, “But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.” Romans 2:5
Listen, when we choose to set ourselves above others, when we tell people how to live and not live it ourselves, when we are being hypocrites and not repenting from our hypocrisy, the Bible tells us that we are “storing up wrath” for ourselves

We should not think we will escape the wrath that was discussed in chapter 1

He (i.e. God) will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.” Romans 2:6-8

You see, however we choose to live, will determine our destiny

If we set ourselves above unbelievers, if we continually judge them and do the same things they do, the only thing we accomplish is to show ourselves to be unbelievers too

A hypocrite that doesn’t think he’s a hypocrite is not a Christian!

However, a believer that is hypocritical knows it – He knows how messed up he is – He realizes it, (and most importantly) he repents of it

Why?

Because he knows its wrong, he’s aware that he’s doing it

How does he know?

The Holy Spirit that lives in him tells him (1Cor. 2:10-14)

The words that are used here are interesting, Paul says, “to those… [that] seek glory, honor, and immortality, he will give eternal life” Romans 2:7

I don’t see where hypocrisy can fit into this? – If I am seeking “glory, honor, and immortality” I will not seek my own gain – I will not be a person that is full of hypocrisy!

Instead, I will be a person who acknowledges his hypocrisy and repents of it – And in the process I will be healed little by little, until one day, there will be no hypocrisy in me

This is what Jesus does for me – He heals me – I’m broken, but He fixes me, little by little, bit by bit

But the first step to this healing is to be repentant – To feel regret for what I have done

Psalm 51:17 says, “A broken and contrite heart, O God you will not despise” Psalm 51:17

Link to Translations

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