By Pastor Glem Melo
“Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom! Give ear to the teaching of our God, you people of Gomorrah! ‘What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the LORD; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats. When you come to appear before me, who has required of you this trampling of my courts? Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations— I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood.’” (Isaiah 1:10-15)
“Now here it is not man but God himself who speaks, and who pronounces, by an unchangeable decree, that all that men do is in vain offered for his acceptance, is empty and unprofitable, unless they call upon him with true faith.” – John Calvin, Commentary on Isaiah 1-16
Because He is perfectly holy, God hates all forms of religious hypocrisy, and He tells us through Isaiah that His judgment and wrath towards unrepentant hypocrites is uncompromising, unrelenting and severe. And not just Israel but we all, because of our sinful nature, are guilty before Him and worthy of nothing but everlasting judgment and condemnation.
Yet in His great mercy and grace, the New Testament proclaims, the infinitely holy Lord of the covenant sent Christ to pay for all our sins (which includes religious hypocrisy) through His suffering and death on the cross. By faith we have total forgiveness and salvation in Him. And by His Holy Spirit whom He has given us, we have true faith and sanctification. He delivered and continues to deliver us from slavery to sin and hypocrisy. Trusting in Christ alone for salvation and growing by His Spirit in obedience to His word, both our worship and life have become acceptable to God our Father and Redeemer. Forever we are free from the curse of the law.
Fellow sinners in our fallen world, let us ask God to forgive us of sin and hypocrisy. Secondly, let us strive by the power of the Holy Spirit to make our worship real before the Lord. How? By genuinely repenting of all our sins and fully trusting in Christ alone for salvation and all things. United to Him by faith and indwelt by His Spirit, let us break the slavery and cycle of religious hypocrisy in our hearts and lives (for it is most damnable before our holy and merciful God) by growing in knowledge, faith and obedience to His word.