We’ve all heard it before. “Churches are full of hypocrites.”
Perhaps we’ve said it, too, and if not, we’ve certainly thought it — at least about certain people in the church.
To an extent, it’s true that there are hypocrites in church. But the point is whether we avoid church altogether because of it.
Many unbelievers cite as the reason they don’t consider church attendance in general or the claims of the gospel in particular is that those who attend and those who believe are hypocrites. Translated, this usually means that Mr. Jones claims to be a saint on Sunday and lives like the devil Monday through Saturday.
Many believers, too, avoid organized fellowship and worship because they don’t want to be around the “hypocrites.”
NEWS FLASH: If you manage to find yourself free of hypocrites, you are likely dead. I don’t say that you have likely died and gone to heaven, because I don’t think there are any hypocrites in hell, either, and it’s quite possible that you have gone there, instead.
Even the best of men, the most sincere Christ-followers, the holiest of saints will act with hypocrisy from time to time. And despite a congregation’s best efforts, it is quite likely that some among them are not even believers, Mr. Jones’ protestations to the contrary notwithstanding.
Those who have repented and believed in Christ are commanded in Scripture to regularly meet with others for fellowship, teaching and worship. We aren’t excused from this because some who participate live like the devil when they leave. And unbelievers, hypocrites in the church won’t keep you from meeting God. Jesus made the Temple obsolete in part so that men — even hypocritical men — can’t keep you from the Father (Mark 11:1-25).
The cure for hypocrisy is not to steer clear of hypocrites, but to come to the One who can make you true, in the gospel of Jesus Christ.