“And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others” (Luke 18:9)
We will never be anything other than a hypocrite until we realize the only thing that makes us different from anyone else is the grace of God. The Pharisees were hypocrites because they trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others. We have entered a day when sinners vie with each other for moral superiority. Each group has their own criteria for virtue. Self-commendation is coupled with severe commendation for those who don’t measure up. What is lost in all this moral posturing is any real sense of humility.
Jesus was good, but He took exception to those who called Him good. Why? Because their easy willingness to pat Him on the back revealed their hankering to flatter themselves. Each Pharisee master had their check list of “must do” or greater commandments. But Jesus wouldn’t play their game. Instead of giving the rich, young ruler a reason to glory in his scrupulous observance of most of the commands, He pointed him toward his failure in one point.
The bottom line is this: God is looking for something other than we think He is. We think He’s okay with our “on-again, off-again” obedience; but He says: “Blessed are they that keep judgment, and he that doeth righteousness at all times.” (Psalm 106:3) We think we can “pick and choose” which part of God’s Word is more important to keep; but He says: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James 2:10)
The only person who will escape hypocrisy is the one who will first humbly bow themselves before God and implore Him for His mercy. They will not thank Him that they are superior to others. They will understand how desperately they need Him to keep even the least of His commands. Those who are always looking up to God never look down on others.