When we rest on who we are as Christians and then do nothing with our faith, we do like the Jews who reject Christ. We may have our salvation (which they do not), but what good is it? This is also the theme of James; faith without works is dead. You are saved, but no big deal if you do nothing with it! When you are teaching others, your first and primary task is to be instructed yourself! You cannot teach what you do not know or have not experienced.
Hypocrisy is heinous before our loving Lord, that is, teaching one thing and doing the opposite. This negates faith and dishonors our Lord! Hypocrisy is also one of the main causes of people being driven away from the church; it is so now as it was then (Rom. 2: 24). Hypocrisy is opposing faith and opposing Jesus!
God's Word was given to the Jews for the purpose of evangelizing the world. Their responsibility was to reach all the people groups on earth; all people and cultures traveled through Israel from up north and east into Egypt for trading (Gen 12:1-3). The Jews' responsibility, especially the Levites, was to be teachers of God, both to their fellow Jews and also to the Gentiles. However, the Bible rarely records the Levite's adherence to their call. So, the people were not properly instructed in the faith and they easily fell into idolatry because they did not know better; they did not have faith. The Jewish leadership failed in their responsibility for education and modeling faith. Do not fail to teach and model faith!
· Christian education is a priority-not just for children, but for adults, as well. People who are not grounded in the Word are not prepared to deal with life or grow in maturity. The Jews, as with many Christians today, placed faith in ritual and tradition, boasting in their privileges and neglecting their responsibility and call.
· C. S. Lewis has a skillful argument, based mostly on this passage in Romans, proving the existence of God on the basis of man's sense of moral absolutes (his sense that he ought to do some things, and ought not to do other things). "Only God could be the source of such universal belief and conviction based upon them."
· There are no secrets from God. So, are you prepared to face Him (Cor. 5:10)?
· God will be glorified and His justice will be vindicated to all! Never make up stories or testimonies, or use sin to please God or reach people; this is dead wrong!
· We cannot hide behind our faith thinking; hey, I am a good Christian because I go to a church, or, I perform a certain task there. Nor, can we think we are a mature, growing Christian if we do some sort of ritual. Such thinking cannot place us in God's good graces. We may think we are a real, practicing Christian, but in reality, these mindsets bring misunderstanding and confusion about Christ to the world. Christ must impact your whole being so you are a completely changed and revitalized person-from your old self to Himself!
· For many Christians, their faith has not transformed them. Their faith is only an external showing when it is convenient, such as on Sundays at 10 a.m., but on Monday, the faith is absent and the faith that should be internal is withered and dry. So, their mindset, attitudes, and how they relate Christ to the world tends to be more carnal than Biblical. This was Paul's message to the Romans; does it need to be God's message to you? I know I needed it to be for me at times. What about you? If so, what are you going to do about it?
1. Have you or have you known people who placed their comfort and faith in the fact that they were a member of a particular church or movement?
2. When we rest on who we are as Christians and then do nothing with our faith, we are like the Jews who reject Christ. We may have our salvation (which they do not), but what good is it?
3. How is hypocrisy a heinous act before our loving Lord? Do you believe that hypocrisy is one of the main reasons that people are driven away from the church? Why, or why not? Can you think of an example?
4. Having a relationship with Christ has nothing to do with our ethnicity, yet people, still to this day, will fight with each other. So, why do some Christians act prejudicially toward others?
5. How can you walk in/with God with deeper trust and obedience and with more commitment?
6. How can you show your faith outwardly from having it inwardly?
7. Today, a lot of churches fail at truly discipling their members. Most Christians who go to church on Sundays will only get a few minutes of preaching and just a little Biblical instruction. Some churches do not teach at all. How do you think God feels about that?
8. What are you going to do today, this week, to walk closer to Christ and less with hypocrisy?
9. Are you covering (hiding) your sin, or is God (redeeming)?
©2001 completely updated and revised 2004 R.J. Krejcir, Into Thy Word http://www.intothyword.org/