What about all those religious hypocrites?
Bible Study Network

  “Then the Lord said to him, ‘Now then, you Pharisees clean the
outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and
wickedness.’” (Luke 11:39 NIV.)

  Jesus was addressing the hypocritical religious elite of His day;
however, he could just as easily have been speaking of His betrayer,
Judas Iscariot.  Judas walked with Jesus and the other disciples. He was
trusted with the donated money. Undoubtedly, to many followers and on-
lookers of Jesus and His ministry, Judas seemed to be righteous. On the
outside, Judas made all the right moves; yet, on the inside, he was
corrupt.  It turns out that Judas was stealing the donated money (John 12:
4-6.) and he betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. (Matthew 26:14-16.)

  Although Judas is an extreme example of hypocrisy in action, he is also
a reminder that God looks at the heart. God wants our hearts and our
minds; the rest will follow.

  Every believer sins; that is our inescapable sin nature.  We all fall short
of God’s glory in some way.  But what is it that makes a person who is
truly sold out to Jesus Christ different from a person who is merely
faking it?  I believe the difference is a conscious decision to remove
anything in the way of a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Jesus said,
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears My voice and
opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with
Me.” (Revelation 3:20.) Before Jesus will have fellowship with us, we
have to “open the door” to our hearts and minds.

  After the resurrection, Peter exhorted his Jewish brethren, “Repent
therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that
times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” (Acts 3:
19.) Repent means to turn away from something.  Jesus wants us to
acknowledge that sin is wrong, to ask to be forgiven, and to ask Him to
help us to give up the particular sin.  He wants us to turn away from
sinful things and turn to Him.  That is repentance.  The Holy Spirit of
God made a promise to us through the words of Peter that, once we do
repent, the Lord’s presence will impact our lives.

  Anyone who doubts the existence of God should take some time to
listen to real people who had real sin issues but who found the strength
from God to conquer them.  The truth is that there are multitudes of
people throughout the centuries whose lives have been changed by God’
s power, making His existence undeniable. It is the invisible Spirit of God
visibly changing people.

  This is not to say that believers cease to sin altogether.  In fact, we
know that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God—yes even
those pious religious types. (Romans 3:23.) As Paul aptly observed, “For
we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.  For
what I am doing, I do not understand.  For what I will to do, that I do
not practice; but what I hate, that I do. . . For the good that I will to do, I
do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. . . So then, with
the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of
sin.” (Romans 7:14, 15, 19 and 25.)

  In order to overcome the sin in our lives, we must undergo the process
of “killing off” the things of the flesh.  This is why Jesus commanded,
“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up
his cross, and follow Me.” (Matthew 16:24.)  Paul remarked, “I have
been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in
me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of
God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20.)

  Paul added, “So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you
walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind,
being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God
because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their
heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to
sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.  But
you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and
have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to
your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being
corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be
renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the
likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the
truth.” (Ephesians 4:17-24 NASB.)

  Judas simply refused to “lay aside the old self ” and “put on the new
self.” Consequently, even though he walked with Jesus daily, his walk
was in the futility of his own mind.  Apparently because of greed, Judas
was blind of heart and alienated from the life of God, even though He
was right in front of him.

  Although unseen, Jesus stands with us now.  He is knocking on the
door of our hearts and minds.  It is time to put off old things; to crucify
those aspects of our lives which alienate us from Him.  It is time to look
to Jesus and the Holy Spirit for transformation—for the renewing of our
minds.  We need to be different from the Pharisees Jesus was
addressing.  We need to allow God to wash the insides of the dirty cups
and dishes of ours lives so that we can live “the life of God” and enjoy
times of refreshing through His presence.

      See also,
You Can't Follow My Bubbles to Heaven.

Back to FAQs.  Back to top of page.