There are several reasons people give for not attending church. Some say that their parents drug them to church as a child and they hate going now. Others say that the church is full of hypocrites and they do not want to be around a church full of hypocrites. This is the excuse people give that really sticks in my craw. Why is that? Well it has several reasons. One is that we have done such a poor job of sharing with others what the church truly is. Because of this many people view the church as people proclaiming one thing and living another.
When I hear this excuse I want to scream out … “I am totally cool with the church being full of hypocrites. Jesus did not come to save the righteous but the unrighteous. It is not the healthy that need a doctor it is the sick. The church is not for perfect people it is to perfect people.” Friends, the hypocrite reason is not a reason at all, it just shows the failure of the church to truly evangelize people and share what it is all about.
Now having said all of that, we must also take into consideration Paul’s words in today’s reading (Romans 2). Paul writes…
Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and brag about your relationship to God; if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, and instructor of the foolish, a teacher of infants, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth – you, then who teach others do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who brag about the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law?
In that section Paul says a lot. But basically what he says is this … “If you claim to be a teacher, a person leading the blind, you must also teach yourself.” Now in that he does not say that we must be perfect, but we must examine our life. When people say the church is full of hypocrites I personally hope they are right. If we were all righteous I would be out of a job because Jesus work on the cross would be useless. The church is to bring people into a life changing relationship with Christ. We are not perfect people, but people who should be working to perfection. If we preach and teach against such things, we must examine our lives closely.
Remember who Paul said would inherit eternal life … “To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immorality, he will give eternal life.” If you are a hypocrite then that is ok if you are seeking by persistence the glory, honor, and immorality that only God can provide.