Ever been to church and heard the word “hypocrite“ used before? It’s a pretty common word we use in the church for people that don’t practice what they preach. If we see a preacher caught doing something wrong, lots of people would call him a hypocrite. And likewise, when a preacher sees sin prevalent in the church, he might look at that and call that hypocrisy.
So when a Christian sins, is that hypocrisy? That depends on what you believe.
For a lot of Christians, they believe that God‘s law is the Ten Commandments. They try to keep them the best they can and they teach others to do so as well. Now, if you teach the Old Testament law as God’s standard, and you break it, then that would make you a hypocrite.
A hypocrite is someone that preaches a standard, but does not keep it. So if you preach the Ten Commandments as God’s standard to people, but do not keep it yourself (and trust me, you don’t), you fall into the category of “hypocrite.”
But at Reform Church, we’ve realized something different. We realize that in this new covenant, there is a new law, different from the old one. The Ten Commandments are not God’s current laws. They are expired. They are old.
Hebrews 8:13 (NKJV) In that He says, “a new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete.
In the new covenant, God has a law of faith. He only requires people to listen to Him and believe what Jesus has done for them. That’s it. God doesn’t require good works from us, He performs the good works through us as we believe in His Son (Rom. 12:2, 2 Cor. 3:18).
As much as we don’t approve of sin, if someone lives by the NEW law of faith (as we described above) and sins, that does NOT make them a hypocrite!
You’re only a hypocrite when you don’t live up the standard that you profess to live up to. But we profess a standard of faith, not a standard of works. And so, as long as we continue in our faith in Jesus, we are living up to the standard that we preach.
Romans 3:27 (NKJV) By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith.
For those who live by the new law, if our works are amiss (despite the fact that we don’t agree with that) it doesn’t make us a hypocrite! We don’t preach a law of works. We preach the new law! And we live by the law of faith in Jesus. So as long as we continue in the faith ourselves, we are practicing what we preach 100%!
If you believe the Ten Commandments are God’s laws and preach that, you are a hypocrite for not living up to them yourself. But if you have accepted God’s new covenant law, the law of faith, you are always practicing what you preach as long as you continue to know Jesus — no matter what your works look like at the moment. There is NO hypocrisy there whatsoever.
Live by this new law, teach this new law, and it’s easy to practice what you preach.
(For teaching on the the new law of faith, click here)