While studying in Galatians this morning and using a new Christmas present alongside my Bible, I came across a very interesting reference that I believe will help us to keep out of the deep, dark deception that has already entered many sectors of the Body of Christ.
This new present that I am referring to is a reference book called “Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament” by Fritz Rienecker. The Scripture portion is from Galatians 2:11-13.
“ But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision. The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy .”
The word that stood out to me was the very familiar word ‘Hypocrisy’ (root hypocrite) which we have all become very accustomed to. The reference from the Linguistic Key says, “The basic meaning of the word is `to answer from under` and refers to actors who spoke under a mask in playing a part. The actors hid their true selves behind the role they were playing. The word indicates the concealing of wrong feelings, character, etc. under the pretence of better ones.”
I know some are familiar with this definition of the word ‘hypocrite’ but some of you may not be. Have you ever looked at the seriousness of not being honest with your feelings and viewpoints before? If this is not something that you struggle with, don’t read any further. I know that in many ways these issues that we have of being up front and truthful are common to all men (and women). God is always digging deeper into our characters in order to free us from the “little foxes” that we may not even be aware of. It’s always easier to see the ‘bigger sins’ and miss the ‘little foxes that spoil the vine’.
I see that more and more of the representatives of Jesus are spending more and more energy attempting to mould into the pattern of the world, rather than being a light shining in the darkness and rubbing up against the ‘common culture of our day’. Many have become pre-occupied with appealing to the masses rather than being a candle unwavering in their stand as ministers of the Messiah. You can see on the popular TV programs when high profile Christian ministers cannot even answer a simple question about the exclusiveness of the Gospel without mixing in provisions for those who have not accepted the free gift of redemption offered by Jesus. Popularity seems to be the flavour of this era for many of our leaders! This is lukewarmness and Jesus said that if we were lukewarm, He would puke us out of His mouth. The church looks more like the world every day in many of the modern representations portrayed by popular media outlets, such as TV, Movies, Videos, Internet sites, and Newspapers. I know there are many others who are proclaiming the Gospel without watering it down, and this remnant is growing throughout the world, I believe!! (I am talking mostly about the current situation in North America)
So please make sure that you are not included in the group of ‘hypocrites’! Examine your heart right now and see if you have any hidden areas of compromise that are blocking out the light of Jesus from saturating into your innermost being. Search for any hidden reefs under the surface where you know that you have hidden how you really feel about an issue, because of fear of being rejected by the people around you. If you find any festering sores in your being, repent and ask the Lord to cleanse you and put you back on the path of righteousness with Him. He is always eager to forgive us as soon as we truly repent! We are forgiven and we have an advocate in heaven who is continually interceding on our behalf! Turn to Him for cleansing and restoration! He is all too willing to forgive when we follow His plan which is to repent and allow Him to heal and set us free from ‘hypocrisy”
Say to yourself right now, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ”!!