Probably the most common complaint leveled at the church is that of hypocrisy. While that has always been the case, it nevertheless is something the Bible takes very seriously. Jesus reserved his harshest remarks for those who misrepresented God through religious hypocrisy. The word that is used in the Greek for hypocrisy means “play-acting”. Like an actor on a stage, a poser, playing a role of religious piety instead of allowing God to do the difficult and painful work of reshaping the inner-person.
That’s going to be the topic Paul deals with as we continue our study in the book of Romans. We’ll be reading chapter 2:17-29.
In V17-23 Paul describes how the mission and purpose of the people of Israel was described in various places in the Old Testament. This is who they saw themselves to be. Still, Paul levels some serious questions at them. He makes the statement in v23 “You’re so proud of knowing the law, but you dishonor God by breaking it.” The difference is vital. Have you ever seen food that looked really good on the outside, only to find it’s just a plastic display? Why is hypocrisy so serious that the warning is repeated so often in the Bible about it?
V24 drives home the imperative of this warning. How might people outside our faith blaspheme God because of hypocrisy?
In V29 Paul plainly declares that outward conformity to a code of conduct means nothing to God. What, instead, is God’s intent with our lives? How can we take steps to keep our focus on the only source of real change?