Luke 12:1 – “…Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.”
Hypocrites are people who portray themselves to be very spiritual but live a carnal and sinful life. The best examples that we read in the Bible are about the Pharisees, who pretended to be pious, but were filled with a life of lies. They loved money and devoured widows’ houses and pretended to be holy by making long prayers (Matt. 23:14). Judas Iscariot, Jesus’ disciple betrayed Him. He pretended to be involved in Jesus’ ministry, but plotted against Jesus and betrayed Him for 30 pieces of silver (Matt. 26:25,48). Judas was always concerned about money (John 12:5-6).
Jesus warns us not to be like hypocrites. Some traits of hypocrites are:
- Hating his own brother – “If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how canhe love God whom he has not seen?” (1 John 4:20).
- Not able to control his speech – “If anyone among youthinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless” (Jas. 1:26).
- Pretending to be holy – “… do not do your charitable deeds before men…” (Matt. 6:1).
- Finding fault in others and not in oneself – “…remove the plank from your own eye…” (Matt. 7:5).
- Praising God with their lips, but their heart is away from God – Matt. 15:7-9.
- Having appearance of Godliness, but denying the godly power – 2 Tim. 3:5.
- They have smooth speeches and conversations filled with flattery – Rom. 16:18.
- Outwardly appearing to be righteous to others, but filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness – Matt. 23:27-28.
Are we hypocrites at heart? James 1:22-24 tells us to be doers of His Word and not just hearers. If we have sinned, openly acknowledge our sin to God. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His truth is not in us (1 John 1:10). God analyses the heart of a person. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known (Luke 12:2).