February 7, 2018

Hypocrites, Meet Hope in Christ

Romans 2:22–24

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22 You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. 24 For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

In Context:

17 But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God 18 and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law; 19 and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— 21 you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. 24 For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” 25 For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. 26 So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27 Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. 28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

Hypocrites, Meet Hope in Christ

Bio | Wade Souza

Random Facts About Me

I once held auditions at recess to join my real life Oregon Trail party because no one told me it was history.

My dad, his dad, his dad, my father-in-law, and our son are all named William or Will.

I was dressed as Richard Simmons when I first met my wife.

The only pet I have ever had is our eight-pound Maltepoo, Emma.

I dislike the taste of cold sandwiches, eggs, and potatoes.

I started shaving in fifth grade.

In middle school and high school, my mom made me a milkshake every night before bed.

Central Truth

Apart from grace through faith, the Jews were as guilty and godless as the Gentiles. Their hardened hearts blinded them from their hypocrisy, which hindered their witness and blasphemed the name of God. Christ's blood was on their hands, yet only Christ could wash them clean and set them free.

Devotional | Romans 2:22–24

Parenting continues to show me, as a new dad, how much I still have to grow. Early on, I remember when our son Will would cry and cry, and my entitled heart would cry out for...

Parenting continues to show me, as a new dad, how much I still have to grow. Early on, I remember when our son Will would cry and cry, and my entitled heart would cry out for "me" time to do what I wanted to do, what I used to do, or what I thought the rest of Dallas was doing. My frustration reflected my immaturity more than Will's.

Too often, I criticize others while losing sight of my own sinfulness and my own salvation story—I was saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone (see Ephesians 2:8-9). Apart from Christ, we are all condemned. In Christ, there is no condemnation for the believer (Romans 8:1).

It's always easier to see others' sin than to recognize our own.

Here, Paul pleads with the Jews to recognize their wretchedness, hypocrisy, and insufficiency to save themselves. Paul, too, was once deluded, deceived, and destined for destruction . . . but for Christ. Though Paul witnessed the Jews' unrighteousness, he also was a witness and recipient of the righteousness of Christ. In love, he points to their crisis. In love, he points to the cross as the solution. 

The Jews' history of hypocrisy dishonored God. It was pride that caused them to perceive perfection as possible. They placed the hope of their hardened hearts in a counterfeit system of compliance with the law that mocked the Messiah's gift of righteousness to us.

Though hypocrisy has hindered the witness of God's people throughout history, His résumé of righteousness remains untarnished. As Todd Wagner often says, "Just because you sin doesn't make you a hypocrite." Hypocrisy comes from failing to address sin, confess sin, and forsake sin. As Isaiah 5:20 warns, "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness . . . ." Yet 1 John 1:7 warmly invites, "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin."

Autonomy is a lie. Abundant life is in abiding with Christ (John 15:4-5).

See Comments

Discussion Questions

1. Do you view confession and repentance as necessary only when you first become a Christian, or to be practiced throughout the Christian life?

2. Read 1 John 1. Do you view confession and repentance as burdensome, or as a bridge to right fellowship with God? 

3. What sin struggle or people in your life are you most prone to rush to judge, forgetting your own sinfulness and salvation story? What steps can you take to love those people like Christ does?

4. In what areas of your life do you most view yourself as autonomous? Have you compartmentalized your faith to allow change only where change is most comfortable or agreeable to you?

5. In what role, responsibility, or relationship is it most difficult for you to reflect Christ? Do you have a plan in place to overcome this difficulty, or are you expecting progress without preparation, prayer, a plan, and support from God's people?

21 Comments available

Georgia Littlejohn 10 months ago

First of all your last statement about your mom and milkshakes put a smile on my face. What a happy memory. Confession and repentance seems to be an every day thing. Sometimes I say things and I wish they never would’ve come out of my mouth. Then I feel tremendous guilt and feel the need to text or call and say I’m sorry. I don’t wanna offend people so I usually feel like I need to apologize even when not necessary. I wish I felt comfortable being who I am. I feel the Holy Spirit is around me a lot and I feel the guilt comes from that as I would never to let down God. I hope that made sense. I ask for forgiveness daily and I give thanks even more. Thank you for today’s lesson.

Alma Barber 10 months ago

May God have mercy on us all, when we let love for “position” (weather is in church leadership or otherwise -looking holy, in order to receive peoples admiration and praise-making ourselves feel good, and even worse…that we are better than someone else) grow stronger than our loyalty to Him. Lord, thank You that even though we are embarrassingly religious and prideful-and down right “phariseetical” often times…you never stop loving us. May we be humble enough to “take off a lot of silly, ugly, fancy-dress in which we have all got ourselves up and are strutting about like the little idiots we are.” As C.S.Lewis states in Mere Christianity Psalm 139:23-24

Sue Bohlin 10 months ago

Hey hey hey! My formatting questions below have flipped since I submitted them! A single asterisk bracketing a word or phrase italicizes, and a double asterisk bolds. Thank you so much, Mike!

Hope Harris 10 months ago

“A Wade with Words” so happy to see your face this morning.

Awesome questions. Starting this week my CG will be adding a confession time to our meetings. So in response to #1.) I believe confession and repentance are part of life in Christ.

“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” (James 5:16 NLT)

This verse instructs me to make confession in the context of community and be prayed for and to pray for others when they confess

Katie Gaultney 10 months ago

Wade - great job! Parenting has been a sanctifying journey for me and I love hearing how God is using Will in your life. Praying now for your little guy and for your role as Dad - and that we would both be men who confess and repent when we sin.

Jennifer Borgne 10 months ago

I guess asterisks don’t italicize? LOL

Jennifer Borgne 10 months ago

Wade, really liked your bio. Neat way to do it Also enjoyed your entry, especially the questions. Prayerful over any areas I’m guilty of being selective in.

Hope Harris 10 months ago

Thanks JTJ and Tech teams for enhancing our JTJ experience. Truly grateful for your skills and talents. I am liking the idea of sharing my comments on facebook in the future.

Sharon Mankin 10 months ago

Manny Fernandez, a missionary, said the greatest argument people he meets have against people in the church is, “they are all hypocrites.” He said he always answers this argument by nodding, pausing and inviting them by saying…“It’s true, we are, but there is always room for one more!” A perfect lead-in to the Good News. May God make his glory so blinding that people see past our hypocrisy to His beauty, truth and grace. Thanks for sharing!

Michael Scaman 10 months ago

Sometimes God commands things that can only be done with his help. In Deuteronomy God says to ‘circumcise the foreskins of your hearts’ around chapter 15 but it is God who will eventually do it in Deut 30:6 where it says ‘And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.’ ( aka ‘the song of Moses’ )

In the gospel song of Moses, heart and ears representing the inner nature are circumcised, changed and made new. Moses rules! But Moses rules point to Christ.

Michael Scaman 10 months ago

Israel was meant to lead the world in praising God, ironically, being fallen people, they led the gentiles to blaspheme… but God isn’t done. Circumcised outwardly, heart and ears a different matter.

Jer 6:10 To whom shall I speak and give warning, that they may hear? Behold, their ears are uncircumcised, they cannot listen; behold, the word of the LORD is to them an object of scorn; they take no pleasure in it.

Christopher Hyland 10 months ago

Good morning Wade! Thanks for this timely reminder. I can be so prone to lapse Into judgement and look at others and somehow think “ they are worse then me.” But the sobering and yet joy filled truth is that I am hopelessly depraved, lost and condemned apart from Christ. I did nothing to earn acceptance and can do nothing to lose it. Likewise people I look at and am tempted to judge. They need Jesus and in that are no different than me.

But for the grace of God there go I

Trey Collins 10 months ago

Also Mike this text box is a HUGE improvement, thanks team.

Trey Collins 10 months ago

Hey Wade, thanks for the devo this morning! I love your first question as I think many new believers find so much freedom and joy in repenting/salvation but that spiritual discipline can fade. At least it has for me from time to time.

But with that fade comes a fade in freedom and joy. Confession is fundamental to the Christian life and fully experiencing all that God has for us. Love that we get to practice that with no condemnation as we belong to Christ Jesus. Praying for you this morning Wade!

Sue Bohlin 10 months ago

So. . . Nope.

Sue Bohlin 10 months ago

OK Mike–having lost the edit button, let me try this again. Single asterisks enclosing a word or phrase should italicize, right?

Sue Bohlin 10 months ago

Thanks for making these changes, Mike–and for telling us what they are!

I happened to notice that putting asterisks around a word or phrase apparently codes for Italicizing. Are there any other formatting hacks we can know about?

Sue Bohlin 10 months ago

Wade! I’ve missed reading your insightful JTJ comments! Which is why I especially appreciate your DEEPLY insightful discussion questions. You remind us how easy it is to slide into spiritual “cruise control” as if we’ve already reached the Promised Land of sanctification. Paul’s pointed questions to the Jewish believers in the church at Rome pull back the rug on the disconnect between what we say we believe, and how desperately our wicked hearts need the Lord–because we never know how strong self-deception is, do we? We are SO MUCH MORE messed up apart from Jesus than we have any idea!

Hugh Stephenson 10 months ago

Good morning Wade!! Love this title and your random facts.

When I can embrace my hypocrisy, I can see more fully how much I need Jesus. There is something juicy in feeling superior and sitting in judgement on someone else. This is a great tool of Satan! It seems as if God is testing me by allowing me to slip back into this sin. It’s a more clever and sinister version of my sin of pride as it makes a relationship with that person much harder.

I am still reflecting on Tim Keller’s idea of swapping “Jews” for “Hugh” and rewriting the passages with my sins and hypocrisy. Sobering.

Dr. C - Paul reminded such people that reality is more important than profession, and obedience more vital than testimony.

Matthew Henry, “let our praise be, not of men, but of God.”

Hugh Stephenson 10 months ago

Thank you Mike! Great work by you and The Journey team!!

Mike Frizzell 10 months ago


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