There Are No Hypocritical “Christians”
There are Christians and there are hypocrites. There are no Christian hypocrites in the real sense of the word. A hypocrite is a pretender. He says he is a Christian, when in fact he is not. A hypocrite is not just an inconsistent Christian or a sinning Christian. Whenever the Bible uses the term “hypocrite” it is used of those who are outside of Christ, but act like they are right with God.
This is not to say that Christians never act inconsistently with their faith. They do this every time they sin. They do this every day. But, the Christian is not pretending to be a believer when in fact he is not. When we read references in the Bible to “hypocrites” and the condemnation that is theirs (cf. Matthew 23), we should not think that these refer to sinning Christians. They were people pretending to be believers.
A clear differentiation between the true Christian, the hypocrite, and the clearly heathen is seen in the parable of the sower (Matthew 13). In that parable Jesus taught that the seed of the Word was rejected completely in the lives of some. In others the seed appeared to take root, but was short-lived and never produced the fruit of faith. Finally, there was seed that fell on the fertile heart, took root, and produced the fruits of faith.
According to this, did true believers fail to be saved in the end, as the seed which began to sprout but was either withered or choked out? As Jesus explains the parable, we can see that this was never the case. Where the seed appeared outwardly to grow for a while and then died there was never the fruit of God’s grace – true faith. This group could best be placed in the category of the “hypocrite” since there was, for a short time, the appearance of faith, but with no fruits or continued life.
Take the Bible for What it Says
The easiest way to see this doctrine as it is taught in the Bible is to simply take the Bible at face value. We might easily read right over some of the most precious truths concerning the certainty and continuity of our salvation. In the next lesson we will look at many of the passages that teach this doctrine, but for now we must be reminded of the importance of how we must read them.
When the Bible says that we “have everlasting life” that is precisely what it means. “Everlasting” refers to something that has no end. God does not give us a temporary salvation or only a temporal life in Christ. When the Bible says that the believer will not perish it means just that.
The Bible does not use the future tense in regard to having salvation as though we will have to wait and see if it works out, or if we will perhaps fall away before we actually possess it. The Bible may refer to the future as the perfection or the completion of our salvation. But it does not leave it in doubt. At the moment that a Christian believes, he has everlasting life. He has the beginning of it and is in possession of it now.
I John 3:2 says, “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” Just notice the certainties here: “now are we…”; “shall be…”; “shall see…” These words are present realities even though there is a more glorious life to come.
The doctrine of the perseverance of the saints is inseparable with the other points of Calvinism. It cannot stand alone, but is dependent on the sovereign grace and power of God as we have already studied.
The other four doctrines cannot stand without this doctrine. If God has sovereignly ordered our whole salvation, then He too will maintain it and preserve us in it forever. Since God is almighty, He is able to do all His holy will, and willing also, being a faithful Father.
“And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one” (John 10:28-30).
Blog post content is taken from Rev. Paul Treick’s book, Faith of Our Fathers, Living Still: A Study of the Five Points of Calvinism, available for purchase. It is posted with the gracious permission of the author.
If you’d like to read the blog series from the beginning, start here.