So how does one know if they are a hypocrite, or in our modern-day vernacular, a two-faced person? This is a question that we should all want to answer, and soon, because judgment is coming. We have all since early childhood learned how to put on multiple faces. There was a face for our parents, one for our teachers, one for our Church pastor, and one especially for our close friends. We learned how to change faces like the old adage says, “in a heartbeat.” Unfortunately, this soon followed us into adulthood as we happily displayed a different face for our employer, a different one for our prospective mate that we were pursuing, and another one for our Christian friends. We quickly saw this as an advantage for fitting in, becoming a part of our new social group. The Apostle Paul writing to the Corinthian Church, said, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things” (I Corinthians 13:11). As followers of Jesus Christ, having multiple faces is one childish trait that we must learn how to put away, and quickly, for judgment is coming. Today we will specifically learn that believers in Christ, who are being transformed into His image, only need one face.
Moreover, as we will soon discover, the heart must match the face. This was a problem with the religious leaders of Christ’s day. The Bible says, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness” (Matthew 23:27). This is another beautiful historical illustration our Lord uses to explain a very deep and important truth. The Pharisees spent a lot of time and energy beautifying the graves of the dead, yet the graves were still full of dead men’s bones. In the same way, they outwardly had learned well how to put on their religious face appearing to be holy and righteous before the people. They religiously obeyed all their laws, statutes, and ordinances, at least in public. They like many today learned well the language of their religion, always praising God and making long prayers in public to be seen by others. Their problem, like many today, is they acted one way in public, before all the people, and behaved differently when they were with their peers or with non-religious people. Ask yourself a question this holiday season: Do you act differently in front of non-religious family members than you do with religious people at church or on Social Media?
The Pharisee’s greatest problem, however, was that their outward appearance did not match their heart. They were hypocrites. They were two-faced. They wore one face in front of a select group of people and an entirely different face with a different group of people. The problem with most of these people is eventually they let their guard down allowing others to see their true nature. I am sure you have seen this yourself when a religious type person pops off with vulgarity while in your presence or tells an off-color joke, then immediately retracts it when he observes your negative response. They are careful to wear their religious face while in your presence but how easily it can slip off when they are accustomed to wearing multiple faces; one for you and another for others in the world. They are attempting to fit comfortably into every environment by wearing multiple faces, showing themselves to be hypocrites. The Bible says, “Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity” (Matthew 23:28). Let those who are accustomed to wearing multiple faces for different people realize that our God sees everything. Dear friends, let that sink in! God sees the hypocrisy. He not only sees every action and hears every word, but He also knows your thoughts.
We must give up our childish ways and grow up in Christ, become adults! Here is a most beautiful truth. All the other faces (designed to fit in with a worldly society) begin to fall away as you grow up in Christ. Let me be very clear, this is not learning how to put on a religious face. It is about changing our heart that in time will shine gloriously through our new face or more precisely our new nature in Christ. Here is the beauty of it, Christ is shining through us to others. They see and feel His love flowing through us, giving a deeper meaning to the commandment to let our light shine before others (See Matthew 5:14-16). Furthermore, as you grow up in Christ, this becomes the most natural thing to do. As God’s adult children everything becomes natural, it must not be forced. Giving yourself to others becomes natural. Turning the other cheek, going the extra mile becomes natural. Humbly considering others better than yourself becomes natural as well, and so incredibly different from a prideful world (See Philippians 2:3). As a child stumbles taking his first few steps, we will do the same, for it takes time to change old habits. This will feel uncomfortable in the beginning, but in time it will become natural and not fake.
Dear children, if this all seems new to you then your study of Holy Scriptures has never risen above simple storytelling, the reading of ancient history, or the finding of an occasional proverbial saying. Let us plummet the depths of God’s Word allowing Him to write it on our hearts through the indwelling Spirit. The more we walk in God’s beloved commandments, the more we will experience the blessings of transformation in Christ. In time you will begin to recognize your true nature and what you were created to be in this world. Oh, what joy awaits you at every turn, at every new summit to overcome, and at every new valley to endure. After a while, you will realize that you are not learning how to put on another face but how to walk in your newly created nature in Christ. This new nature reaches well beyond the brain to include every fiber of your magnificently created body to do things you never thought possible. There is increased stamina and increased drive to complete the tasks we are called to do. We can concentrate longer with greater patience on difficult tasks that also helps us to meditate and pray for longer periods. Emotionally, we are more sympathetic, compassionate, and merciful demonstrating agape love to everyone. God saves and transforms the entire person.
Finally, those who call on the Name of Christ but refuse to grow up in Christ by forsaking all their different faces, will have a very rude awakening. Judgment day is coming! These hypocrites, two-faced villains, are known by God and cannot foolishly proclaim that Scripture teaches that they will be shielded from His wrath. Unfortunately, many, especially in the West proclaim that everyone who claims to be a Christian will be delivered from the wrath to come through a secret rapture unknown to the Church for its first nineteen hundred years. Although the rapture is true, it is not invisible. The Bible says, “Every eye shall see” (See Revelation 1:7, Matthew 26:64, and Acts 1:11). The faithful remnant will remain in place to continue proclaiming the truth and will be powerfully shielded from God’s wrath. These mature believers in Christ will remarkably be unaffected by the psychological turmoil sweeping the planet. They will be unaffected by the rank lawlessness driving many to strike back with unfettered ruthlessness. On the other hand, God’s faithful remnant will continue to display their new nature of mutual love and respect, only striking back when necessary with the weapons of righteousness. Stand firm, dear children, as you continue to grow up in Christ to become adults giving up your childish ways of wearing multiple faces to fit in with the fallen world. Wear only one face, given to you by Christ. Then let your one face, your new nature in Christ, shine forth brightly every hour of ever day. Amen
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