“Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you an automobile.”
– Billy Sunday
I remember when I first became part of the family of God in Jesus Christ about 20 years ago. On several occasions while attending church services, there would be people who would share their testimonies where a good half hour would be spent on magnifying how sinful, evil and bad they were with a smirk on their faces, while one or two minutes would be spent on emphasizing on how good God was by saving them through Jesus Christ. I also noticed that in many cases these storytellers were the first ones to play the hypocrite outside of the congregation’s eye. One day they would be in front of a church giving their testimonies, and the next they were out doing the same things they proclaimed they were delivered from. The furthest thing from their professed walk in Christ was Christ Himself. The fruit of Jesus was M.I.A. when it came to their walk.
Scripture tells us, “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked” (1 John 2:6). Clearly, these people were not walking their talk. The famous preacher Billy Sunday stated, “Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you an automobile.” Oh how right he was.
I have also noticed that “accusers” are those who love to target hypocrites only in an attempt to justify themselves. They decry, “Look a those hypocritical Christians!” and, “They say one thing and do the opposite!” And for the most part, friends, I agree that their hypocrisies have reached unto the high Heavens.
But there is one factor these accusers completely overlook, and that is the fact that nobody rebuked the religious hypocrites more than Jesus Christ Himself (Matthew 23)! Therefore, it is a lack of faithful Christianity that hypocrites are being called out for, not for their Christ-like walk (Matthew 7:16).
We need to keep in line with the person of Christ and His purpose.
Jesus came into the world to save His people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21)
Jesus “was manifested to take away our sins, because in Him is no sin,” and “Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not.” (1 John 3:5-6)
Christ incarnate “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)
Christians know that “as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15-16)
Christians perfect “holiness in the fear of God.” (2 Corinthians 7:1)
Why would Christians drag Christ’s name through the mud of hypocrisy when they can clearly see the high cost of their redemption?
Christians know that they “were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from … vain conversation received by tradition of the fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18-19). They understand that when they were saved by grace through faith they would find themselves crying out against their sins, not looking for excuses to defend and protect their sins (Romans 7:22-25). They also know that they are called to magnify and establish God’s Law (Psalm 40:8) through grace (Romans 3:31), not violate and transgress God’s Law by bringing Christ to an open shame (Hebrews 6:6).
Christians are called to emulate Christ (I Corinthians 11:1), not to contradict Him through a hypocritical, sin-fulfilling lifestyle. So make the distinction when calling a Christian a Christian and a hypocrite a hypocrite.
I say to those who are so quick to judge anyone for their hypocrisies, do remember that you have the same Bible as those you call hypocrites. It is not enough to call them out, you must right the wrongs and practice what you preach as well.
Let us live up to the level of expectation that we are called to in Christ by asking for more grace to keep God’s commandments better; then we as a nation will see the living Christ for who He truly is.
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