Romans 2:21-24(New Living Translation – NLT)
21 Well then, if you teach others, why don’t you teach yourself? You tell others not to steal, but do you steal?
22 You say it is wrong to commit adultery, but do you commit adultery? You condemn idolatry, but do you use items stolen from pagan temples?
23 You are so proud of knowing the law, but you dishonour God by breaking it.
In previous devotions during our time looking at the Gospel of Luke, we spent some considerable time discussing the huge subject of hypocrisy. Just last week I mentioned the fact that all of us are guilty of at least some level of hypocrisy. Despite our best intentions, very often, we find ourselves in positions where what we profess to believe is overtaken by our bad behaviour. The apostle Paul says something similar when he says “The things I want to do I don’t do and the things I don’t want to do, those are the things that I end up doing.” This could be termed as ‘Accidental Hypocrisy’.
I don’t think this is what we are reading in our verses today. One key word is found in verse 23 and it is the word ‘proud’. It’s incredible to think that some people believe that it’s ok to be proud. Nothing is more anti-Christian than a heart that is proud. James 4:6 says ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Paul seems to be saying that these people are not only breaking the law despite telling people to keep it, but they have an attitude of pride in their position of knowing what the law says! It’s like me telling you the details of the UK traffic regulations, ensuring also, that I tell you how difficult it is to actually learn all the various rules and laws and then jump in the car and travel at 60 mph in a 30mph zone. How hypocritical is that? All that is incredibly sad, but for me, the greatest issue in all of this is that by breaking the law, they are actually dishonouring God. Psalm 51:4 ‘Against you have I sinned.’ When we sin, we may think that we are the ones affected, but in fact, we sin against God. We are accountable to Him.
I’m sure that I don’t need to stress how important it is for us to run away from hypocrisy. Perhaps today though, you’ve realised that there are some areas in your life where there is some pride that needs to be repented of. Come before God in humility and experience the joy of forgiveness!