Hypocrisy: The Stepchild of Legalism

You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as,  “Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”?  Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them.  (Colossians 2:20-22 NLT).

The law was never meant to be a stepladder to God but a mirror to reveal who we are. Trying to keep the law will lead us into legalism, which is one step away from hypocrisy.

Many years ago, I was at a meeting in my college gymnasium where Loren Cunningham was speaking. During the invitation, I felt a nudge to go forward, but an Elder of my church sat at the bottom of the bleachers.  I had grown up in this church and tried to keep all the rules with limited success. I thought to myself, if I go forward, my Elder will believe I have been a hypocrite, which I was, but I did not want him to know.  Pride is always the greatest hindrance to salvation.

Keeping the law is not difficult; it is impossible.  If you try to keep the letter of the law, you will fail and end up covering up your failures, becoming a hypocrite.  Legalism is always a precursor to hypocrisy.  The Pharisees went to great lengths to win their acceptance from God through their self-righteousness.  They did a good job in making themselves outwardly look holy, but Jesus exposed their hearts.  That is why they hated Jesus.  Hypocrites fear one thing—having their facades removed.

I believe that it is not the apparent sins that keep most people from God but self-righteousness.  You can’t lead someone to Christ who does not believe they need him.  Most people compare themselves with others and think they are doing fairly well; however, God does not grade on the curve.  It is sinless perfection or spiritual death, which is why we need a savior to die in our place.

If you walk down that vain path of legalism in pursuing God, you will end up with hypocrisy as your stepchild.


The image is used with permission by Microsoft.

Ken Barnes is the author of “Broken Vessels,” published in February 2021, and “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places,” published by YWAM Publishing in 2011.

Ken’s Website— https://kenbarnes.us/
Ken blogs at https://kenbarnes.us/blog/
Email- contact@kenbarnes.us




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