WW: The Vileness of Hypocrisy


Today’s Watson Wednesday is from section 13 from The Godly Man’s Picture by Thomas Watson. This portion is called “The Vileness of Hypocrisy.”

The Lord would have no leaven offered up in sacrifice; leaven typified hypocrisy (Luke 12:1). The hypocrite does the devil double service; under the visor of piety, he can sin more and be less suspected: ‘Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayers’ (Matt. 23:14). Who would think that those who pray for so many hours on end would be guilty of extortion? Who would suspect of false weights the man who has the Bible so often in his hand? Who would think that the one who seems to fear an oath would slander? Hypocrites are the worst sort of sinners; they reflect infinite dishonour upon religion. Hypocrisy for the most part ends in scandal, and that brings an evil report on the ways of God. One man breaking in renders the honest suspect. One scandalous hypocrite makes the world suspect that professing Christians are like hi. The hypocrite was born to spite religion and bring it into disrepute.

The hypocrite is a liar; he worships God with his knee, and passions with his heart, like those who ‘feared the Lord, and served their owns gods’ (2 Kings 17:33).

The hypocrite is an impudent sinner. He knows his heart is false, yet he goes on. Judas knew himself to be a hypocrite; he asks, ‘Master, is it I?’ Christ replies, ‘Though hast said it’ (Matt. 26:25). Yet so shameless was he has to persist in his falseness and betray Christ. All the plagues and curses written in the Book of God are the hypocrite’s portion; hell is his place of rendezvous (Matt. 24:51). Hypocrites are the chief guests the devil expects and he will make them as welcome as fire and brimstone can make them.”

Such strong words on hypocrisy. It is one thing to fall into hypocrisy once and awhile, it another thing for you to be characterized as a hypocrite in the eyes of God. “Christian Hypocrisy” (I use quotes for a reason). The hypocrite that Watson refers to here is the one who continues to live with the Christian label, go to church, and even correct others, but refuses to acknowledge or repent of his or her own sin. Jesus believed that such hypocrites would have no part in the kingdom (Matt 23).

Genuine Christians are not seen by God as hypocrites. As sinners saved by the grace of Christ, they live a lifestyle of repentance by God’s grace that acknowledges their sin and puts it to death. True believers don’t pretend they have no sin, nor do they overlook and find ways to excuse their sin. That is the attitude and life of the false convert.

If there exists any struggles with hypocrisy (which is different from a lifestyle as a hypocrite), a believer will confess these struggles to God and man, and seek to take up his cross by killing such a deadly attitude. Followers of Christ know that it is not in their power to change themselves, but it in the power of the Gospel to transform them more into the image of God. Though the penalty of the believer’s sin was paid for at Calvary, there is a continued battle against the flesh until Christ comes back to take His people home.

But the hypocrite refuses to truly acknowledge the Savior and His call to repentance, and he chooses to wallow in the sin by which he is consumed.

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