My Story: The Road from Religious Hypocrisy
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Some of my earliest memories are from the church in which my family was very active. I even remember being around when the actual building was being built.
I considered myself to be “religious”. But like so many, while I went to church on Sundays, it didn’t make a difference in my life. You see, I was the “religious hypocrite” that everyone talks about—I said one thing but lived another. And to be honest, I thought it was a pretty good life. The “church thing” was a nice addition, even if it was a little inconvenient, to my party lifestyle. Actually, I knew that what I was doing was wrong … but for a good portion of my life I just didn’t care (or at least I acted like I didn’t).
I’ve come to understand that what I called “doing wrong” God calls “sin”. He says, “You shall not lie,” but that was my life—a big lie! He says, “You shall not commit adultery,” but that was my life—I was an adulterer. He says, “You shall serve no other gods,” but everyday I was serving the “god” of my own lusts.
I offended the One True God in my sin. And I’ve learned that God will not simply overlook sin. In fact, He says, “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
My own “goodness” couldn’t make amends for my own sin. And I couldn’t deny my sin since I had spent years boasting about it. I was finally confronted with the reality of my life before God … and I didn’t like what I saw.
There I was, a religious hypocrite—perhaps the very one that you’ve used as your own reason to rebel against God. I was condemned in the guilt of my sin.
But that’s where the “good news” comes in. The same verse that tells me “the wages of sin is death” goes on to say, “but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The Bible tells me that “God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
The God whom I offended with my sin willingly sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the penalty for my sin. God “made Him [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21). That’s why He died on the cross—He was paying the punishment for my sin. He died and was buried. But three days later He rose again!
My attempts at religion could never pardon my sin. But God would freely forgive my sin because Jesus Christ took the punishment for me. This is my only hope of salvation, and it is yours too!
I had to come to the point where I stopped trusting myself and my own religion to somehow earn points with God. That meant I would repent of my sin and acknowledge before God that I had broken His laws. And though I had grown to be pretty good at “looking religious” I had to admit that I could not save myself. I began to trust in Jesus Christ to save me. And why wouldn’t He? He endured the agony of the cross, died, and rose again in order to forgive my sin. Surely He is the Son of God and God, the Son!
Thanks for taking the time to read this. Before I close I have two requests: Please don’t use my hypocrisy as your excuse to keep on breaking God’s Law. And please consider your need to stop trusting in your own religious acts or affiliations. “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).