The heart of the Religious Hypocrite presents to the world a facade of righteousness while a secret life is lived full of evil thoughts, and intentions, with a willingness to indulge itself at the right time and place.
The heart of a Religious Hypocrite is convincing. Individuals can lead a double life for many years without attracting undue attention. But the religious façade cannot last forever. Abraham Lincoln is reported to have said that “You can fool most of the people some of the time and you can fool some of the people most of the time but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”
The heart of the Religious Hypocrite is compartmentalized. This mental exercise allows a person to function without prolonged guilt having to be dealt with, or excessive distraction from normal duties.
The heart of the Religious Hypocrite is sincere in as far as it functions, and in whatever category it operates. When the evil in the heart is allowed to manifest itself, the evil is intentional, for it will produce a tremendous amount of personal pleasure on some level. And when religious activities are engaged in, the activities also bring soulish pleasure.
The heart of the Religious Hypocrite is bold. Whatever initial apprehensions of being discovered are quickly silenced.
The heart of the Religious Hypocrite is desperately wicked. As the religious part of the soul grows in its abilities to perform legal duties before God, the part of the soul enslaved to sin also grows more sophisticated and perverse.
The heart of the Religious Hypocrite is impure, and therefore will not see God in the sense of being able to abide in His presence forever. Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in spirit for they shall see God.”
The heart of the Religious Hypocrite is an unhappy heart. “For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked…. 17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end” (Psalms 73:3, 17).
The heart of the Religious Hypocrite cannot be helped by human methods, nor by any efforts at moral reformation. The heart of the Religious Hypocrite is beyond human repair, or redemption.
Every world principle of wisdom will prove false. Every program relied upon will have to be replaced by the next. Every promise of hope will be shattered. Every new practice, or technique, will be discarded.
Any effort to use the church or the gospel message alone to defeat the Twisted Man in the soul, deny his presence, or control his urges will prove to be meaningless. Only Christ can sanctify the soul and set it free.
The heart of a Religious Hypocrite can be found in any spiritually-minded person.
Ministers. “Therefore, it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Cor. 11:15).
Deacons. “But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate” (Acts 6:3,5; Rev. 2:6).
Church members. “But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?” (Acts 5:3).
Apostles. “Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?” (John 6:70).
The heart of the Religious Hypocrite is emotionally hardened, which allows the mind to move the body from evil, to religion, and then back to more intense expressions of unrighteousness.
The heart of the Religious Hypocrite can be doctrinally correct, and morally corrupt. Many individuals will be surprised in the Day of Judgment to discover they will not be allowed into heaven. “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matt. 7:22, 23).
The heart of the Religious Hypocrite is delighted to find those of like mind and faith in spiritual matters, and also delighted for find those of like mind and faith in the area of sensuality, or other areas of deviance from Scripture.
“Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, 2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: 3 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 1:1-3).
“It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. 2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. 3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, 4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. 6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?” (1 Cor. 5:1-6).
The heart of the Religious Hypocrite can give good counsel to others, and yet be incapable of applying spiritual counsel to itself due to pride, the pleasure principle, fear of exposure, or a concern that all will be lost. As a result, the slow dance with spiritual death continues until the last waltz.
The heart of the Religious Hypocrite is sensitive to spiritual matters, and yet enslaved to the dark side of life. He can weep at the sight of a wounded Savior, and then commit those sins which wounded the Son of the Living God: “adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, and heresies” (Gal. 5:19-20).
The heart of the Religious Hypocrite can evaluate itself, and even at times detest the Twisted Little Man inside the Soul, and never be different. What the Religious Hypocrite can never do is go to the temple and say with sincerity, “God, be merciful to me the sinner.”
The heart of the Religious Hypocrite eternally lies to itself at critical moments in order to engage in sin, as easily at the tongue can sing the songs of Zion. In this manner a soul is carried captive by Satan at his will.
- I am better now.
- I am different.
- The past is now behind me.
- I will never do that again.
- I am just curious.
- One little look won’t hurt.
- One little drink is not that much.
- I will be different tomorrow.
- No one will know.
- It has been a long time.
- God will forgive me no matter what I do.
The heart of the Religious Hypocrite becomes sophisticated in sin, and sophisticated in acts of religious worship.
There is hope for the Religious Hypocrite. The hope is not in a change of heart, but in a new heart where upon is written the Law of God.
Ministers of the gospel must give hope to those in the assembly who may be a secret Religious Hypocrite, while taking heed to themselves. “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will” (2 Tim. 2:25, 26).