by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 2 Study # 7 March 15, 2005 Lincolnton, N.C.
(108)Thesis:Hypocrisy has a different impact in different "systems" of theology.
Introduction:Last week we attempted to make the point that hypocrisy is a sufficient basis for condemnation in a system of "performance" theology. We argued that there are none who escape the failure of "failure" -- i.e., there are none who are not hypocrites. Then, we raised the question of why hypocrisy serves as a basis for condemnation for some and not for others. And we argued that the reason is that hypocrisy "condemns" is that "performance theologies" have no place in them for failure. Since the Gospel is a message of forgiveness, hypocrisy in its "system" is only a basis for disciplinary child-training for the expansion of a person's experience of the true Life of God. This evening we want to go one step further. We want to ask why Paul particularly zeroed in on hypocrisy.
I. The Obvious Problem: Everyone is a Hypocrite.
A. This surfaces a singularly important fact: Paul is not arguing that his message is a superior message of "performance".
1. Paul never promised the Gospel would demolish hypocrisy so that it never raised its ugly head again in the lives of those who believed it.
a. This is not to say that the Gospel does not have the seeds of the destruction of hypocrisy in it.
1) Hypocrisy has two basic roots.
a) The fear of failure.
b) The desire for fame.
2) The Gospel makes two promises.
a) The Love of God makes failure insignificant.
b) The Grace of God makes fame a futile pursuit (believers already have more fame in the eyes of God than they can believe, and no amount of performance will add one iota to it).
b. If the children of God were born into the family of God with an immediate and full-blown and irremedially focused understanding of all of the intricacies of how to use Truth to effectively blunt deception, the children of God would not be subject to the charge of hypocrisy.
2. Paul clearly admitted his own failure(s).
B. This also explains why Paul goes to great lengths in Romans to establish the reality of the sinfulness of every person (see 3:9 and 3:23).
II. So, Why Zero in on the Charge of Hypocrisy?
A. Everyone knows that the charge of hypocrisy will rapidly escalate into a huge shouting match of charge/counter-charge.
B. Why does Paul "go there"?
1. First, because, once established as true, the hypocrite gets no "relief" from being able to make a "true" counter-charge (proving that everyone else around you is a hypocrite doesn't make your hypocrisy any more "acceptable").
a. This is necessary because where there is no fear of the justice of God, there is no salvation.
b. This is also necessary because where there is no faith in the love of God, there is no salvation.
2. Second, because Paul never wanted the Gospel to become a "I perform better than you" platform.
a. This is nothing more than pride cloaking itself in the garment of the Gospel.
b. There is nothing more destructive to relationships than pride.
3. Third, because Paul did want to undercut hypocrisy's foundations so that it could become a gradually diminishing reality.
a. The Gospel is the only message that provides relief from the fear of the justice of God.
b. The Gospel is the only message that provides for faith in the love of God.
c. The Gospel is the only message that reduces the pursuit of fame to a futility.
4. Fourth, because there is no worse charge that can be made: for the Name of Yahweh to be blasphemed is tantamount to the unpardonable sin; and for one to be guilty of promoting that is to be qualified for the lowest regions of Gehennah.
a. If a legalist can ever be brought to see his/her "hypocrisy", the entire system of performance theology is reduced to ashes.
b. If the system of a legalist can be reduced to ashes, there is hope for the possibility of salvation...which is what Paul was "all about".