Conversion, Baptism and Hypocrites

Baptism and the conversion to Christianity.

God loves us and offers us salvation as a gift (John 3:16). If we receive His grace, by faith, we have salvation as our eternal possession (Ephesians 2:8-9). Once saved, nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:38-39). Nothing can remove us from His hand (John 10:28-29). If you desire this salvation, if you desire to have all your sins forgiven, if you desire to have assurance of salvation, if you desire direct access to the God who loves you – receive it, and it is yours. This is the salvation that Jesus died to provide and that God offers as a gift.

The rite of baptism expresses the commitment of the believer to die to the old, sinful way of life and be reborn to a new life in Christ.

Romans 6:4–8(HCSB)4 Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in a new way of life. 5 For if we have been joined with Him in the likeness of His death, we will certainly also be in the likeness of His resurrection. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that sin’s dominion over the body may be abolished, so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin, 7 since a person who has died is freed from sin’s claims. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him, In Christian baptism, the action of being immersed in the water symbolizes dying and being buried with Christ. The action of coming out of the water pictures Christ’s resurrection. Baptism identifies us with Christ in His death and resurrection, portraying symbolically the whole life of the Christian as a dying to self and living for and in Him who died for us Galatians 2:20(HCSB)20 and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Paul explains to the Galatians the process of dying to self as one in which he has been “crucified with Christ,” and now Paul no longer lives, but Christ lives in him. Paul’s old life, with its propensity to sin and to follow the ways of the world, is dead, and the new Paul is the dwelling place of Christ who lives in and through him. This does not mean that when we “die to self” we become inactive or insensible, nor do we feel ourselves to be dead. Rather, dying to self means that the things of the old life are put to death, most especially the sinful ways and lifestyles we once engaged in. “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires” Galatians 5:24(HCSB)24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Where we once pursued selfish pleasures, we now pursue, with equal passion, those things that please God.

John 14:15(HCSB)15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commands. Water baptism by immersion is the biblical method of baptism because of its symbolic representation of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.

We let ourselves be completely immersed in the water. The Greek word for baptism is Baptizmo which means immersed or immersion. This symbolizes burial with our Lord; we are baptized into His death on the cross and are no longer slaves to self or sin. When we are raised out of the water, we are symbolically resurrected—raised to our new life in Christ to be with Him forever, born into the family of our loving God

Romans 8:16(HCSB)16 The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children.

Is there a such thing as a christian hypocrite?
With these witty but also biting words, Jesus causes his listeners – then and today – to carefully examine their own lives. Are we going about accusing others of minor shortcomings when, in fact, we ourselves are ignoring our own behavior? If so, we are hypocrites. Once our hypocrisy is removed, then we are in a position to help others.

Unfortunately, one obstacle to the acceptance of Christianity that is often raised is provided by Christians themselves. Phrased in many ways, the core of the objection is, “If Christianity is true, why are there hypocrites in the church?” In other words, if Christianity is really supposed to change people, then why do some who profess to believe in Jesus set such bad examples?

Hypocrite –  a person who claims or pretends to have certain beliefs about what is right but who behaves in a way that disagrees with those beliefs

:  a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion

:  a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings

Hypocrisy – the behavior of people who do things that they tell other people not to do : behavior that does not agree with what someone claims to believe

The word is derived from the Greek term for “actor”—literally, “one who wears a mask”—in other words, someone who pretends to be what he is not. Hypo – under Krino – judge, a judging under, like a performer acting under a mask (i.e. a theater-actor); (figuratively) a two-faced person; a “hypocrite,” whose profession does not match their practice – i.e. someone who “says one thing but does another.

The Bible calls hypocrisy a sin. There are two forms hypocrisy can take: that of professing belief in something and then acting in a manner contrary to that belief, and that of looking down or judging others when we ourselves are battling the same sins.

Isaiah 29:13(HCSB)13 The Lord said: Because these people approach Me with their mouths to honor Me with lip-service—yet their hearts are far from Me and their worship consists of man-made rules learned by rote—

Jesus quoted this verse, aiming the same condemnation at the religious Scribes and Pharisees of His day Matthew 15:8-9(HCSB)These people honor Me with their lips,but their heart is far from Me. 9 They worship Me in vain, teaching as doctrines the commands of men.”. John the Baptist refused to give hypocrites a pass, telling them to produce “fruits worthy of repentance” Luke 3:8(HCSB)8 Therefore produce fruit consistent with repentance. And don’t start saying to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you that God is able to raise up children for Abraham from these stones!. Jesus took an equally committed stand against holier than thou attitudes—He called hypocrites “wolves in sheep’s clothing” (Matthew 7:15), “whitewashed tombs” (Matthew 23:27), “snakes,” and “brood of vipers” (Matthew 23:33).

As children of God, we are called to strive for holiness (1 Peter 1:16). We are to “hate what is evil” and “cling to what is good” Romans 12:9(HCSB)9 Love must be without hypocrisy. Detest evil; cling to what is good. We should never imply an acceptance of sin, especially in our own lives. All we do should be consistent with what we believe and who we are in Christ. Acting is meant for hollywood and the stage, not for real life.

A hypocrite may look righteous on the outside, but it is a façade. True righteousness comes from the inner transformation of the Holy Spirit not an external conformity to a set of rules.

Hypocrisy is not the same as taking a stand against sin. It is not hypocrisy to teach that drunkenness is a sin, unless the one teaching against drunkenness gets drunk every weekend—that would be hypocrisy. Something with porn, sexual immorality,lust,drugs,etc.

Jesus addressed the other form of hypocrisy in the Sermon on the Mount: Matthew 7:3-5(HCSB)3 Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the log in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and look, there’s a log in your eye? 5 Hypocrite! First take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Jesus is not teaching against discernment or helping others overcome sin; instead, He is telling us not be so prideful and convinced of our own goodness that we criticize others from a position of self-righteousness. Romans 2:1(HCSB) Therefore, any one of you who judges is without excuse. For when you judge another, you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the same things.

Once we are delivered from our sins we could go and help others get set free from theirs, but if you are still in your sin you cannot tell another to depart from theirs.

Final thoughts on Christian Hypocrites:

•Many people who claim to be Christians don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Perhaps they are Christian in name only.

•A Christian is called to grow in faith and progress to being more like Christ. This doesn’t always happen instantly. Many Christians continue to struggle with temptation to sin. We are called to put on a new nature and allow the Holy Spirit to transform our lives (Ephesians 4:23-24(HCSB)23 you are being renewed in the spirit of your minds; 24 you put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth. It is not hypocritical to fall. It is hypocritical to deny that you fell and pretend that you were successful.

•A Christian is called to live a life of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience Colossians 3:12(HCSB)12 Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,. Be intentional about letting God change your heart.

•Christians should admit hypocrisy. All of us are hypocrites in some area. Be vulnerable, honest, and authentic with unbelievers. Acknowledge your sin and share how freeing God’s forgiveness is.

Are all Christians hypocrites? Not at all! In fact, the history of the Christian church is filled with examples of selflessness, courage, moral action and reform and many other positive influences on the world. These are not the acts of hypocrites, but of sincere believers transformed by the resurrected Christ and moved by the Holy Spirit.

Until the church and all followers of Christ are glorified, there will, unfortunately, be hypocrites in the church. What’s important to remember, however, is that this does not negate Christianity or the claims of Christ. In addition, accusations of hypocrisy assume that there is a moral standard that hypocrites break. But where does this standard come from? In this sense, the hypocrisy objection actually supports the reality of a transcendent, moral lawgiver (that is, God), rather that argue against Him.

We must also remember that, biblically speaking, Romans 3:23-24(HCSB)23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. 24 They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. In other words, no one is perfect and all are dependent on Christ for redemption, salvation and growth in spiritual maturity. On the one hand, Christians should not act hypocritically, lest we provide critics with a flimsy reason to reject the gospel message.

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