"Being What We Are"
August 27, 2005Email to a FriendPrint
If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more. Philippians 3:4
A St. Louis, Missouri, man, who gave music lessons, left the impression that he was poor. He wore shabby clothes; he went to places where he could get free food. After his death it was revealed that he was a wealthy man. On the good side, he gave a large sum of money for a public library.
The world is a stage where people play roles. Some are genuine performers, while others put on an act. Some who are rich pretend to be poor and vice versa. They are hypocrites. The word comes from the Greek "Hypokrites" and means one who plays a part, an actor, a pretender.
Jesus was aware of people who pretended to be what they were not. In Matthew 23 He upbraids the Pharisees, calling them hypocrites and pronouncing seven woes on them. He was especially critical of the outwardness of their religion. "Everything they do is for men to see," He declared (Matthew 23:5).
The apostle Paul had been a Pharisee, and not a run-of-the-mill kind but a very zealous one. As a former insider he could--and did--speak very authoritatively about self-righteousness, which is a form of pride and pretense. He urged the readers of his epistles to avoid sham, declaring: "Do what is right in the eyes of everybody" (Romans 12:17). Again, "Let us behave decently, as in the daytime" (Romans 13:13).
An opponent of self-righteousness, Saint Paul tells the Philippians how true righteousness is attained, and that is "not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ" (Philippians 3:9). Jesus Christ fulfilled the Law in our stead. He endured the penalty for our sins, which is death, by dying on the cross and then rising again.
Now there are no grounds for sham, hypocrisy, or self-righteousness. We can be what we are: Sinners declared righteous in the sight of God because of faith in Christ. We are clothed in the splendid robe of Christ's righteousness.
PRAYER: O Holy Spirit, by Your power, I will endeavor to lead a truthful life to Christ's glory. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)